Climate clippings 57

WMO on the 2011 climate

Via Climate Progress we have the WMO’s Provisional Statement on the Status of the Global Climate and press release. This graph is interesting:

Temperatures relative to 1960-1990

2011 is shaping as the 10th highest on record and are higher than any previous year with a La Niña event. The 13 warmest years have all occurred in the 15 years since 1997. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud:

“Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs. They are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2-2.4 degree Centigrade rise in average global temperatures which scientists believe could trigger far reaching and irreversible changes in our Earth, biosphere and oceans,” he said.

‘True’ global warming

Foster and Rahmstorf have a look at Global temperature evolution 1979–2010. There is discussion at Open Mind and RealClimate.

They tease out and remove the short-term variability due to ENSO, solar cycles and volcanic eruptions in five temperature series and combine them to produce this graph:

Foster and Rahmstorf combined temperature series

Fragmented rainforests maintain their ecological functionality

Well they can according to this study.

A rainforest in Kenya was subject to use by the human population and divided into forest fragments. The study over nine years of this one rainforest found it maintained its ecological functionality.

North America’s greenest building?

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia

is one of only a handful of buildings worldwide that will provide “net positive” benefits to the environment. It reduces UBC’s carbon emissions, powers itself and a neighboring building with renewable and waste energy, creates drinking water from rain and treats wastewater onsite.

CIRS is one of four flagship projects – valued collectively at more than $150 million – of UBC’s transformation into a living laboratory for sustainability. Innovations that result from CIRS and other UBC sustainability projects will help UBC to achieve the most aggressive carbon-reduction targets at any major research university: a 33 per cent reduction in Vancouver campus institutional GHG emissions by 2015, a 67 per cent reduction by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2050.

Very impressive. BC is said to be a climate-change leader. Well might they be if you look on a flood map at what even one metre of sea level rise does to the river delta area south of Vancouver.

Attribution of global warming

A new study, Anthropogenic and natural warming inferred from changes in Earth’s energy balance is behind the paywall, but from the abstract:

We find that since the mid-twentieth century, greenhouse gases contributed 0.85 °C of warming (5–95% uncertainty: 0.6–1.1 °C), about half of which was offset by the cooling effects of aerosols, with a total observed change in global temperature of about 0.56 °C. The observed trends are extremely unlikely (<5%) to be caused by internal variability, even if current models were found to strongly underestimate it.

There’s more at Climate Progress.

Climate forcings

You might like to ponder this graph of emissions from the Global Carbon Project:

Fossil fuel carbon emissions 1960-2010

Pacific islands climate change report

The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have completed a three year study giving detailed projections of the effects of climate change on the Pacific’s 15 small island states. The idea is help the island nations adapt to climate change.

There’s more at the ABC.

The SMH tells us:

Australia is providing more than $328 million under a five-year program to help small nations adapt to climate change.

Aerodynamic trucking from Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz recently showcased its aerodynamic truck and trailer design.

Mercedes claims an additional 18% wind resistance reduction, giving a 5% reduction in fuel consumption.

It all helps.

Clean Energy Australia Report 2011

If you read the ABC report you might think it’s mainly about solar PV. Go to the report itself and you’ll find it quite comprehensive. There’s even a mention of a tidal power plant on page 46! Marine sources provide 0.003% of our power.

I’ve had only a quick squiz. Two thirds of the 9.64% of energy generated by renewable sources is hydro, where NSW dominates. More than half of the rest (21.9%) is wind and more than half of that is in SA.

There were about 8000 full-time equivalent jobs in the renewable energy sector in 2010, nothing to get excited about. The forecast is for this to rise to 36,600 by 2030.

Meanwhile the man from Petratherm dreams of a $1.5 billion clean energy precinct in the outback of South Australia that would take advantage of the unique combination of geothermal, solar and wind energy resources, aiming at the massive energy demands of BHP Billiton’s proposed Olympic Dam expansion.

115 thoughts on “Climate clippings 57”

  1. Brian,

    OK, I’ve pondered that graph from the Global Carbon Project. I’m wondering why the RHS scale is upside down. Is this supposed to show some inverse correlation between carbon intensity and carbon emissions? Beats me.

    Anyway, let us suppose that the intensity graph meanders its way to 100g/$. That is to say, economic output is $10,000 per tonne of carbon emitted.

    Now, suppose that we impose a $100/tonne cost on the economy by moving to renewables. So, economic output is now (other things being equal), $9,900/ tonne. (*)

    So, it seems, we might not all have to live in caves after all.

    (*) OK, this is not really true as the production of renewables would also count as economic output, but you get the drift.

  2. I&U I think they would have been better off with the RHS scale the right way up, as a virtuous trend in both would have been a different shape, one curving down and the other curving up. You still have to deconstruct it to see what’s going on.

    What’s behind it is the increasing use of coal this century. I’ve got to fly, but I’ll find the link for sure in the post I plan to do summing up Durban. When I looked there wasn’t any text, just 24 slides.

  3. Something like the B&W mPower small modular reactor would seem to be ideal for Olympic Dam.

    Tiny environmental impact, very low emissions, very small site footprint, small water requirements with air cooled condensers, expandable simply by adding further units and high capacity factor not dependent on the weather.

  4. I should add a further advantage of SMRs for projects such as Olympic Dam, and that is they can be sited fairly close to where the electricity is needed, avoiding the construction of long transmission lines.

    It is very difficult to see how any other method of generating electricity would have a smaller environmental impact.

  5. Whale oil beef hooked, Tidal got a mention!!!
    And so it should.
    With the sporadic nature and unpredictability inherent in wind( causing wave),sunshine pv and Hydro( to a lesser extent due to its reliance on rainfall) energy sources, Tidal trumps em all.

    Predictability you say?

    How about my b’day in 2013.

    Anyone know what the wind speed will be on that great day?
    Or cloud cover or rain?

    Well Tidal is ya base load, ya just haven’t realised it yet.

    ( aaahhh that felt good, thanks Mark, oops, I mean Brian) 🙂

  6. @jumpy,

    Don’t know about cost. The first customer for mPower in the US seems to be the Tennessee Valley Authority so we should assume cost competitive with conventional nuclear. Say, for arguments sake $5,000/kW. For $30 billion maybe 6 GWe which would make a fair dent in coal burning.

    In the US, the electricity co-ops, a number of which currently own shares in NPPs are interested in SMRs because of the ability to incrementally add capacity without the big capital outlay of conventional nuclear and to diversify supply.

    As these things will be largely factory built there should be substantial potential for cost reductions.

  7. Quokka @ 5
    Read the effing brochure:

    “Reactor design is not complete. Statements in this brochure are based
    on the fi nal, cer

  8. The missing bit in my post (due to some pasting glitch “final certified design”.
    In other words the brochure is just about vapourware.
    The product does not exist Quokka.
    Could I interest you in this ? I can get you a special deal along with some share certificates for the Sydney harbour Bridge.

  9. #18 Huggybunny,

    mPower is being built by a partnership between B&W and Bechtel. B&W is supplying the reactor system and Bechtel the balance of plant. Both are long standing engineering corporations with many years experience both in nuclear power and electricity generation.

    mPower is an evolutionary light water reactor design and as such draws upon decades of experience with light water reactors including many thousands of reactor years of operational experience. Including, I might add, the small reactors on US navy ships. As such it will not face the new engineering challenges of something groundbreaking like Bill Gates Terrapower travelling wave reactor.

    B&W is making considerable investment in mPower and is building (may now be complete) a test centre for mPower.

    There is in fact no reasonable indication that this is vapourware. And by reason of it’s evolutionary nature, there is no good reason to believe that unexpected issues of large magnitude are likely to cause large delays.

    I chose to mention specifically mPower as an example of SMRs for these reasons.

    So do you have any actual evidence – you know the stuff that is rightfully demanded of climate deniers – that this is vaporware. Or are your comments limited to quips about shares in the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

  10. @15, Lefty E, the mere presence of those countries at Durban must give their representatives cognitive dissonance. The abject hypocrisy of Australia as the world’s biggest coal exporter even turning up has got to produce a few wry smiles. Like having Al Capone turn up for church Sunday morning.

  11. quokka, as Huggy has pointed out, the product doesn’t exist.

    B&W/Bechtel haven’t even completed their (non-nuclear) prototype yet…heavily subsidised, interestingly enough, by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Seems an odd way to help out struggling tobacco farmers whose sales are down because people are smoking less. Two companies as big and successful as you say couldn’t string $10-20 million dollars together by themselves? They really must believe in this thing…

    If TVA even decide to proceed with the deal (still at letter of intent stage), their first 160MWe reactor is due in 2020…the 6GWe you mentioned would be more than 37 mPower reactors.

    The IAEA currently estimates between 40 and 90 SMRs (of all stripes) operational worldwide by 2030…that’s anywhere between 5GWe and 15GWe. Didn’t China alone just install 40GWe of wind power (13GWe at one-third capacity factor) in just 5 years?

    The biggest selling point of SMRs is supposed to be economies of scale – something nuclear is traditionally shithouse at, and wind/solar etc have proven to be surprisingly good at. These prototype SMRs are at best 20 years from achieving it.

    Nuclear = slow (no matter how much money is thrown at it)

  12. Quokka @ 19
    I quote from the document itself (2011)
    Generation mPower LLC
    11525 N. Community House Road, Suite 500
    Charlotte, NC 28277 USA
    Phone: 704.625.4900
    The information contained herein is provided for general informa

  13. Sorry the copy and paste is crap.
    Read the document for yourself but this time read the entire thing.


  14. Its a sick joke on all of us. Rolling up to represent dead industrial interests who bought them off or a few shekels – and pretending they somehow ‘represent’ a country.

    F**k you! Citizens climate assembly now.

  15. Jumpy: The graphs in this post give a better feel for pH trends. (Blow-ups here) Note that the change of pH with atmospheric CO2 appears top be quite rapid.
    I have no idea how much pH has to change before it starts to have significant effects on the oceanic ecology. My guess would be that living organisms will be able to produce calcium carbontate at pH’s below that which will dissolve calcium carbonate that is not tied up in living organisms. The dissolution of calcium carbonate should stop the pH falling far for a long time.

    Huggy: This article suggests that the Chinese are still interested in developing smarter forms of nuclear energy as part of their long term plan.

  16. Amory Lovins’ 2009 piece above is long on rhetorical dismissal and specious reasoning, and short on careful analysis. In this sense Nick, it is indeed ‘the same old story’ from those with a morbid fear of anything with the word nuclear in it.

  17. More utterly mystifying reflex pro-Americanism from the Gillard govt. Why on earth pass a CO2 and tax and then support US attempts to derail and delay an international agreement?

    Gillard et al – your position makes absolutely no sense.

  18. David @ 26, what a wonderful speech, stirring and poignant, will be thinking about it all day, posted to my facebook page and thanks.

  19. Lefty E,

    “pretending they somehow ‘represent’ a country.”

    Given that a majority of Australians are against carbon pricing and support climate change sceptic Abbott, the Gillard position probably is representative.

  20. I agree, Fran. It seemed decidely rushed for something someone bothered commiting to a Word doc.

    However, I linked to it specifically for its arguments against SMRs.

    quokka or yourself are welcome to refute those, and provide a more careful analysis that goes beyond a company’s PR pamphlet.

  21. Leaving aside the question of nuclear or not both quokka and Fran appear to be locked into the 19th, early 20th century model of a power grid.
    News for you both, the industry itself has moved on from the centralised transmission/distribution model and is concentrating upon the distributed generation model that includes distributed energy storage.
    GW scale generation facilities associated with high voltage transmission lines will be phased out over the next twenty years to be replaced by MW scale generation, zero CO2 emission facilities that feed directly into the MV network and from there into the LV network where we all live.
    I can also predict with total and absolute confidence that within 10 years every home and SME will have a mass produced energy storage and load levelling system that will be mostly paid for by the service provider and that will provide a totally new type of energy network that will facilitate intermittent renewables and completely flatten energy demand on the LV network.
    I have said enough.

    Please you old fuddy duddies do some research and get your concepts up to date.


  22. @Huggybunny

    And you are the one going on about vaporware!

    Among other things such a micro generation utopia would rule out off shore wind, large scale CSP, EGS, large scale marine generation etc etc because of the need for those nasty old transmission lines.

    Such extravagant claims are directly counter-posed to just about every serious attempt at producing renewables scenarios which just about universally call for more – not less – transmission capacity and more interconnects.

    Even PV is not in general being installed with storage. And just how do you store several months worth of energy in a northern European climate? PV remains a miserably small portion of world electricity generation.

    Why not go the whole hog and rip down the whole world’s housing stock as well over the next ten years and go for passivhaus or such like so that the hapless population would have some chance of keeping warm or cool in this projected dystopia of energy poverty.

    I’m as much for the next big thing as the next person, but this is just fantasy.

  23. Huggy,

    Distributed storage to levelise LV demand is plausible, if battery costs can be substantially reduced from where they are now.

    Dismantling the HV transmission grid seems less likely to me. It will have a new role of “gathering” intermittent renewable generation from a wide area in order to provide reliability. It doesn’t matter how small the individual generating units are. A transmission grid will be required to (say) transport wind power from SA when the wind is not blowing in NSW. Indeed, it is plausible that the transmission grid will need to be expanded: eg a link from WA to SA might be developed.

  24. Hey Quokka et al,
    I never said that the transmission system would be pulled down. All I said was that there is a major concentration upon the LV distribution system right now and in particular distributed generation and storage.
    Of course there will be new transmission systems ; in particular I see Direct Current (DC) networks spreading around the globe. Obviously the further the solar power stations are distributed on an east west axis with a low loss dc link the better ( No VARS required thanks).
    Note that existing HV transmission loses about 10% of the energy transmitted during load peaks- about equal to one big nuke on the East coast.

  25. Quokka –what I take away from that graph (apart from the detail being rather submerged by the choice of a very large unit of measure for CO2 saved), is that renewables have doubled since 2000 while nuclear has been steady over the same period and has actually contracted slightly (which would be more apparent if the choice of unit for the Y axis was Mt rather than Gt).

  26. quokka, I’m honestly not sure why you linked to that table. Can you explain what you were getting at?

    Briefly, on transmission lines for new nuclear reactors:

    Citigroup Global: New Nuclear – The Economics Say No

    Dale Klein, chairman of the US NRC, has stated previously that necessary grid extensions and upgrades could lead to further delays of nuclear projects and indicated that he was surprised to learn that “it may take as long to site, permit, and build a transmission line for a new plant as to site, license, and build the plant itself.”

    A lot of other fascinating stuff in there about the usual ubiquitous cost overruns, delays, construction bottlenecks etc from a market point of view. Worth a read.

  27. Huggy: Agree with you about the grid. The question that should be asked right now is what would happen/need to be done if the country decided to stop increasing grid capacity? How much of this would require radical improvement to current technology?

  28. Nick That citygroup report should be enough to sink nuclear forever.
    It exposes the ugly truth that nuclear will never get off the ground in OZ without a massive injection of taxpayer dollars – make the NBN look like chicken feed..
    The LV distribution network in this country is basically OK it is simply that it was designed 50 years ago and cannot cope with the peak loads that we inflict upon it. From an energy transfer perspective it is fine – given a flat load profile. Also PV is creating a problem because the industry insists on using totally crap German inverters that push the voltage over statutory limits when the load is low (Lunchtime duhh).
    Distributed energy storage will totally fix the quality problems, eliminate the need to provide the peak capacity we need for about 1% of the time and basically double the energy capacity of the LV distribution network.


  29. @Nick,

    CITI’s crystal ball didn’t last long

    Nor will they [NPPs] be built in the UK

    The site preparation licence has been issued for the first EPR at Hinckley Pt (Hinckley C). The generic design assessment by the Office of the Nuclear Regulator is nearly complete and the other requisite licences will be issued following that.

    I see no evidence that at least some new NPPs will not be built in the UK.

    If you want to get a grip on official thinking in the UK then the Climate Change Committee’s Renewable Energy Review and supporting documents is a must read.

    It’s pretty clear that to decarbonize electricity supply by 2030 (mandatory if the ambitious and commendable emissions reduction targets are to be met), then new nuclear build is essential. Furthermore the committee did not find the required NPP build rates to be challenging.

    I have not observed any great difference in the position of Labour or Tories on this. The civil service (DECC) is also behind it.

  30. @Nick,

    You think that new transmission and grid upgrades for wind farms are not also an issue? Peppering the Welsh landscape with new transmission lines is a hot issue in the UK. Same in Germany. Nobody likes transmission lines regardless of where the electrons come from.

  31. @Nick,

    CITI’s crystal ball didn’t last long

    Nor will they [NPPs] be built in the UK

    Nice selective quoting there, quokka. You left off: “by the private sector”.

    I think you’ll find Électricité de France is still 85% owned by the French government.

    Thanks for the CCC report. I’ll have a read tomorrow.

  32. huggy, yeah it’s pretty damning isn’t it! They didn’t muck around.

    Oh, and quokka…please tell me you read past the first page 😉

  33. @Nick,

    The CITI report does not take any account of the carbon floor price or of carbon contracts for difference in it’s assessment of the economics. It’s actually irrelevant.

    It also does not take account of a capacity mechanism that will be introduced with electricity market reforms – something that will be mandatory in all grids with increasing amounts of unreliable intermittent capacity if security of supply is to be maintained.

    The CCC finds that nuclear and on-shore wind are the lowest cost low emission electricity generation technologies. It also projects that this will persist through 2040 with perhaps a bit of a nod to nuclear.

    As for EDF being majority owned by the French state, so what? Is the French state operating a charitable institution for the benefit of UK electricity consumers. I don’t think so.

    In any case, I really don’t care if martians build low emission generation capacity and I can’t see why anybody else should mind either other than tea party types. We face a planetary crisis and quibbling over private or public ownership strikes me as fiddling while Rome burns. Whatever works.

  34. I can’t speak fro Quokka, Nick, but I read past the first page. The trouble is that the first page indicated strongly that this would be nothing but a recapitulation of the old FUD-style anti-nuclear talking points. Subsequent pages affirmed this.

    My biggest disappointment was that they left out the Price-Anderson troll.

  35. Huggy:

    Also PV is creating a problem because the industry insists on using totally crap German inverters that push the voltage over statutory limits when the load is low (Lunchtime duhh).

    So why do we persist with “crap German inverters”? My understanding is that there are alternatives that are far more suited to the way we want to use roof top solar.
    Brings me back to the question posed at 42 as a spur for a rethink of the whole power supply question.

  36. A long quote explaining how the Climate Change Committee reached a decision which does not agree with the conclusions of its own Report, prepared by Mott McDonald.

    Other sources, such as The ‘World Nuclear Status Report’ prepared for the government contain plenty of material which suggest nuclear costs could be much higher, and that it is certainly not ‘the most cost -effective’ low carbon technology:

    ‘Because of implicit and explicit guarantees, the private cost element of nuclear is uncertain and continues to escalate, … and the public subsidy portion is generally missing entirely, so that nuclear cannot be properly compared to alternatives nor can the potentially enormous cost to taxpayers be appropriately vetted’.

    Mott MacDonald’s June 2010 report contains very optimistic assumptions, on capital costs, construction times, operating efficiency etc. which run counter to the historical trend of rising nuclear costs – usually well above original estimates made by the industry. No Generation III+ reactors yet exist – so predicted cost estimates are largely theoretical.

    But Mott-MacDonald’s latest (May 2011) report is much more cautious about nuclear’s cost advantage. and notes that costs have a much greater chance of exceeding initial estimates than the costs of renewables, that the long lead time and operating life of nuclear, lock in costs for many decades compared with the greater flexibility and potential for cost reduction of solar and wind.

    But its most important conclusion is that the relative costs of different energy-generating technologies actually depend on which technology is given priority by policy makers – ‘pushing deployment can affect the relative costs’, and ‘it is possible to find cases where offshore wind, CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), and nuclear are each lower cost than the other two’.

    This means that if renewables are deployed extensively they may well be cheaper than nuclear – even using the existing over optimistic nuclear cost assumptions.

    Why the Committee came to airbrush this vital conclusion, and chose not to point out that government itself has the responsibility for deciding whether to make renewable energy the most cost effective option, can only be guessed at.

  37. quokka and Fran, new nuclear plants are being built, and will continue to be built.

    The rate they’ll be built in the next 20 to 30 years, taking in to account the number of old plants to be decommissioned, and regardless of where carbon price levels are set, is unlikely to make as much difference to carbon emissions as any of us would like. I don’t see that much can be done to change that (the amount of new heavy steel forges that would need to be built to up the quota significantly, just for starters…or am I mistaken on that?), and, hence, I see it as a flawed technology.

    That’s my conjecture, and nothing I’m reading from any source is filling me with confidence otherwise. Fran, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed you see this purely as an exercise in FUD.

  38. The ‘World Nuclear Status Report’ prepared for the government

    Oh really? What government might that be?

    This annual report is prepared by the Worldwatch Institute. The forword to the 2010-11 edition is written by Lovins. What government is going to go to that type of source for objective assessment of nuclear power?

    Unless evidence can be produced to the contrary, I will take this claim to be a deliberate attempt to mislead.

  39. quokka, I was not quibbling over private versus public sector, merely pointing out your error.

    But if you don’t see certain distinct inevitabilities as a result of the private sector never deciding to get involved, and choosing to about face after 40+ years and invest heavily in nuclear, what possible chance do you think the industry has of ever growing dramatically beyond what it is now?

    You think our governments can afford to increase spending on nuclear by some 5-10x, as well as spending on creating 5-10x the university educated professionals to work in all aspects of the field (not least including its regulation) by themselves?

    Maybe, just maybe, China is in a position to do something approaching this. I’m not convinced the rest of the world has any hope of achieving it.

    As Huggy notes, what you’re asking makes the NBN (or even several of them) look like chicken feed.

  40. Can I suggest we have a permanent “Nuclear Stoush” thread so that the climate clippings don’t constantly become a nuclear warzone?

  41. Yes to SG’s suggestion on a special topic for nuclear. These days I resist the bait, most of the time. Unless there’s something genuinely new to say or a point is raised that hasn’t been gone over recently, I see no need to go over old ground. Nobody’s opinion is changing here, but a dedicated thread for this might be good. Quiggin has it in the “sandpit” for people who want to talk about pet topics.

    I don’t agree there should be threads on whether climate change is real. That’s just inviting all manner of flying monkeys to troll the site and waste bandwidth. Barry Brook has banned the case against science on this matter entirely and the site is the better for it. We don’t get enough deniers here to require such a policy. Wisely, most of us simply ignore them.

  42. A dedicated thread is fine if you want to create a thread of doom. But there are other possibilities. How about tweaking wordpress to make a ‘debate thread’ option?

    Build in some extra rules, say:

    1) 100 comments maximum

    2) Comments are restricted to a certain length

    3) No commenter can comment more than 5 times

    4) Comments are closed 3 days after the debate begins

    That way if Fran didn’t want to go over so-called old ground, she could just be upfront and forfeit participation, instead of kibitzing patronisingly. No serious offence meant, Fran. Sorry Brian for extended nuclear stoushing, and for now meta-meta-commenting.

  43. Though to be accurate it should be an anti-renewable thread. The post made no mention of nuclear power at all, it isn’t in the Clean Energy Australia report, but I suppose the prospect of renewables tainting the purity of Olympic dam was a goad too far for Quokka.

  44. JohnD
    The industry uses crap German Inveretrs because they are cheap and conform to AS4777. An inveter that can fix the problem may need to go to 0.7 power factor and the standard (AS4777) only allows 0.8. There is a lot more, but if ever there was a way to really stuff up a simple procedure the solar industry has found it. Then they turn around and blame the power utilities!
    On the nuclear debate:
    Mostly so far it has been a whole lot of “Oh wouldnt it be nice” puffers who totally ignore the massive infrastructure requirement, the total lack of credible waste disposal and the time and cost it will take to get this industry up. Especially when they have people like me fighting it every inch of the way 🙂

  45. #59 Nick,

    Ah, a debate. Straight out of the play book of Monckton. Why does nobody with any sense want to debate Monckton? Because it is not feasible to refute nonsense in that format. It’s a format made for Gish Gallopers.

    It’s not a matter of debate, it’s a matter of credible and authoritative evidence. It’s a matter of numbers and sources.

  46. Interesting you bring up Christopher Monckton, quokka. When you’ve got him and Andrew Bolt and Glenn Beck firmly on your side of the nuclear fence, you got to start questioning maybe I’m being led up the garden path on this one…sorry, that’s just ad hom, isn’t it. Scrap that.

  47. Sorry Nick but while debates can sometimes shed light on a subject, in this format on issues like nuclear, there is generally a lot more heat than light, as your (and Quokka’s) response above shows.

    FTR, I don’t see the position of wanting to include consideration of the feasibility of nuclear power in any energy mix as inevitably ‘anti-renewable’ (Su’s claim). As Professor MacKay once had it — one can be pro-maths. If renewables can do the job required at similar effectiveness and cost as nuclear or better, then I’m for that. Indeed — I’d go further. Even if the likely full lifecycle cost of renewables was quite a bit more than nuclear but they could do the job as effectively (the job being to get rid of coal and as soon as possible, gas) and with no greater a biospheric footprint I’d personally still prefer them, because I know that most of my country folk would feel culturally a lot more comfortable with it. There’d be an easier sales pitch and we could get started earlier. Those are benefits for which it’s worth paying a premium.

    In a transparent and rigorous analysis in a given energy market, it should be easy to determine that question every so many years and make approriate decisions. The trouble is that at the moment, anti-nuclear advocacy can’t show how we can get rid of coal or gas, and indeed entails more coal and more gas however the advocates of renewables want to believe otherwise. In a place like Japan, that’s a huge problem. In a place like Canada, which is being recalcitrant on emissions reductions agreements, shutting down nuclear — not that they’d do it — would certainly mean that — and more — it would mean they’d be even keener to wreck international agreements on reductions. We aren’t going to persuade China or India or the US or Russia to abandon nuclear power either.

    Interestingly, even amongst the Greens, the thorium MSR is being talked about as an option. Not before time either.

  48. It certainly isn’t inevitably anti-renewable, but there is a subset of people, Quokka among them for whom that description is completely appropriate, they spend more time advocating against the use of renewables, even in situations where it is clearly a good fit for the circumstance (ie off shore wind along portions of the UK and European coasts, renewables at Olympic dam) than they do advocating for nuclear. I don’t really expect too many people to read my comments but it does seem extraordinarily bad faith for someone to dismiss as not credible, the UK CCC’s own commissioned report, which stated the rather unremarkable fact that policy levers and pressure thereupon affect the ultimate cost and that under different policy scenarios each of Wind, nuclear and CCS could emerge as the least cost option. Of course committees may choose to ignore the advice they seek, this is the prerogative of committees and committees heeding all of the evidence are by far the minority. But by anyone’s standards the bit of sneaky ad hominem Quokka used to confuse this evidence with commissioned reports by groups known to hold an anti-nuclear stance is dishonest.

  49. Oh, I know what those two comments showed, Fran ;). It’s certainly not the quality of debate I had in mind, which would be preferably something better than endless back and forth blog tennis on an issue that warrants it.

    Commenters would have to focus and truly consider the weight and merit of their arguments and linked references (already limited per comment), because they’re only going to get to make a few.

    No adjudication required at the end, but cheap point-scoring and rhetorical tricks along the way would simply be seen for what they are. You could hold another one six months later if you wanted. Anyway, just an idea…but would be an interesting twist on what’s long been a great format for communication and learning, but one with many well-acknowledged limitations and flaws.

    You’re right btw. You don’t have much to add that you haven’t submitted before. I made it clear earlier I don’t expect any country to shut down nuclear, or stop building plants – it’s the reactor building companies that are begininng to do that by themselves…

    Thorium and other experimental nuclear is interesting enough, and to be honest, while others may think differently, I’m quite happy for scientific research to proceed as it will. It’s not for me to say thorium won’t prove important to the world in 100 or even 60-70 years time. In the meantime, it’s 20-30 years from being commercialised and achieving anything near the economies of scale wind and solar have already achieved and continue to achieve. It has to become mass-produceable, or it just ain’t gonna solve the world’s problems (conjecture no. 2).

    You must see that. 2500 x 1 GW reactors around the world is just not feasible in the time we have, even if you did happen to have a spare $10-20 trillon dollars lying around. It’s not a carbon price driving the cost of nuclear up while other technologies become cheaper. The industry is doing that all by itself.

  50. Alternatively, maybe someone else who blogs here (e.g. Quokka, who has his or her own blog) could put up a post on an aspect of the debate and link to it in the next Saturday Salon. I put up one on the epidemiology of radiation risk shortly after the earthquake, and I will be putting up another one some months from now. Maybe Quokka could put one up addressing the issue of subsidies and nuclear, and we could all go and piss in his pocket – unless Brian wants to take it up directly here.

    I pick the subsidy issue as an example because it is constantly floated and it seems fairly easily settled, but I’ve never seen it done in one place, comprehensively. Pro-nuclear advocates like Bolt just don’t go near the issue; I think Monbiot is new to the whole nuclear debate and is more interested in health; and on climate threads it tends to come second to the more obvious practical issue of whether we can build enough plants in time. But surely it’s one of the easier aspects of the debate to settle?

    But then again maybe the economic aspects are irrelevant. Increasingly the near-term prospects for mitigating global warming boil down entirely to the question of what the US and China are going to do. The US is going to do nothing, and China is developing so fast that it is going to have to throw the kitchen sink at the problem. That means that it’s going to invest rapidly in nuclear in a sub-standard regulatory environment, while also throwing scads of cash at renewables. And I guess that means it will subsidize nuclear if it has to. Or, worse still, force energy companies to invest in nuclear and then scrabble to cut costs, leading to a slew of very badly run, cheaply built reactors operating pretty much unregulated.

    What would be hilarious is if China simultaneously developed a decent 4th gen reactor and also forced the price of renewable energy down…

  51. Hmmm …

    Global carbon emissions reach record 10 billion tonnes – threatening two degree target

    Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by 49 per cent in the last two decades, according to the latest figures by an international team, including researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia.

    Published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, the new analysis by the Global Carbon Project shows fossil fuel emissions increased by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and by 49 per cent since 1990 – the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.

    On average, fossil fuel emissions have risen by 3.1 per cent each year between 2000 and 2010 – three times the rate of increase during the 1990s. They are projected to continue to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2011.


    Rebounding from the global financial crisis of 2008-09 when emissions temporarily decreased, last year’s high growth was caused by both emerging and developed economies. Rich countries continued to outsource part of their emissions to emerging economies through international trade.

    Contributions to global emissions growth in 2010 were largest from China, the United States, India, the Russian Federation and the European Union. Emissions from the trade of goods and services produced in emerging economies but consumed in the West increased from 2.5 per cent of the share of rich countries in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2010.

    In the UK, fossil fuel CO2 emissions grew 3.8 per cent in 2010 but were 14 per cent below their 1990 levels. However, emissions from the trade of goods and services grew from 5 per cent of the emissions produced locally in 1990 to 46 per cent in 2010 – overcompensating the reductions in local emissions. Emissions in the UK were 20 per cent above their 1990 levels when emissions from trade are taken into account.

    “Global CO2 emissions since 2000 are tracking the high end of the projections used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which far exceed two degrees warming by 2100,” said co-author Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor at the University of East Anglia. “Yet governments have pledged to keep warming below two degrees to avoid the most dangerous aspects of climate change such as widespread water stress and sea level rise, and increases in extreme climatic events.


  52. Mercifully I’ve been away from the thread for about 33 hours.

    Inwardly I groan whenever the thread turns to nuclear, but usually some new information emerges. I’m probably not entitled to a view, but I suspect that newer technologies particularly in solar and local storage are going to blow nukes out of the water before long. Also have a look at this trigeneration stuff about to happen in Sydney:

    The city’s independent Mayor Clover Moore has hired a British expert Allan Jones to help slash emissions by 70 per cent within 20 years.

    At the moment all I can do is take on board comments about how we should deal with comments and perennial topics like nukes.

    I’m told that the majority of people who visit the site don’t read the comments thread. Which is partly why I pick up links at times for subsequent CCs. I often read other threads selectively, but I don’t believe you should comment unless you have read the whole thread. So I don’t.

  53. I heard some of the Alan Jones interview on the way home last night, Brian, so thanks for the link. It filled in the gaps. He’s a very interesting bloke (much more so than his local namesake), and I’m pretty sure they’ve had him on Occam’s Razor or something in the past, talking about what he’s already done along the same lines in the U.K.

  54. I hear tell that global investment in clean energy exceeded investment in fossil fuel energy for the first time in 2011. Thats a major turning point.

    Things are changing – question is whether in time

  55. David
    Tri-generation in office buildings is a subset of distributed generation, it is here now and it is very low cost and it works and it can be deployed in large numbers in the very middle of a city and it avoids transmission losses and it consumes waste material that otherwise would pour its methane into the atmosphere. It is in fact the total antithises of nuclear (Try to get agrrement to put a nuke in your school basement kiddies).

  56. Fran @ 68, thanks for the link. If you follow the links you get to the Global Carbon Project’s Carbon Budget 2010 which I’ve mentioned several times already, without discovering the page I’ve just linked to.

    I find their site design and publication strategy frustrating, but the link I’ve just posted seems to contain all the links to their stuff.

  57. The hippes were talking about distributed generation 40 years ago, Huggy, but no-one took us seriously.

    It’s great that Jones is actually doing it.

  58. Apologies again, Brian. I get carried away in my enthusiasm sometimes, but try not to make a habit of it!

    quokka, good to argue through it with you and will definitely give the links you posted a read when I get a chance. Please excuse some of the sarcasm that came through back there. Very happy to read anything you’re posting on your site on the subject.

  59. Quokka, Su @ 65 used the words “extraordinarily bad faith”. Personally I’m not making a judgement, but if another commenter saw my comments that way I would have a good think about it.

  60. No probs, Nick. CC functions as an open thread, so I don’t rule climate-related topics OT. Your arguments seemed cogent to me.

  61. ‘It exposes the ugly truth that nuclear will never get off the ground in OZ without a massive injection of taxpayer dollars’

    As opposed to coal, wind and solar…

  62. ‘You think our governments can afford to increase spending on nuclear by some 5-10x, as well as spending on creating 5-10x the university educated professionals to work in all aspects of the field (not least including its regulation) by themselves?’

    The UAE have signed a BOOT contract with the South Korean’s. They will build the plants and then operate them for 20 years whilst training up the locals for eventual hand over after this time has elapsed. There may be a shortage of such options if demand increases for Nuclear over the coming decades, but with Japan/France/Germany/US/UK/Sth Korea all having hundreds of years of reactor hours knowledge there would be potential to recruit their know-how in the short term.

    If the Germans and Japanse are really going to shut down their plants you might even find a surpluss of nuclear operators and physicists looking for work.

  63. Lefty: Substitute Plimer for Howard and you’d still have things about right.

    I don’t understand his statements that geology isn’t welcome in climate science. At the recent AGU conference there were literally hours of lectures and posters devoted to the contribution of geology to climate science. But surely Plimer wouldn’t be making a rhetorical play for underdog status though, right? Surely not.

    I wonder if Plimer won’t have the same conducive media environment that supported Heaven and Earth – i.e. raving reviews in the Telegraph etc. I get the feeling that mainstream media outlets are tiring of the climate ‘debate’ and are less likely to give it much airtime (the response to ‘Climategate 2’ being one example).

  64. LOL
    “What science teachers do is put all of the facts, pro and con, against any topic, whatever it is, and show the children how to work through the evidence,” she said.

    I saw nothing but pro imminent apocalyptic AGW in any of the “education” of my sons on this.
    And believe me I looked hard, cos i paid a small fortune over and above my taxes.

    Fortunately, as a responsible parent, I provided some balance.


    Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

    The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

    In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

  66. Jumps, how do you balance with your head stuck down in a bucket full of golf balls 😉

    Every first year science student knows, it is all about reliability and validity or lack there of. If you know better than all the combined Sandstone Establishments or Academy of Sciences, then please – enlighten me!

  67. I saw nothing but pro imminent apocalyptic AGW in any of the “education” of my sons on this.

    It sounds to me as though your sons’ teachers were being reasonably balanced, then.

  68. Plimer’s book is “supported” (to what extent I don’t know) by the IPA according to Crikey. It’s published by Connor Court, which appears to only publish rightwing material, including guides to sexuality written by Catholic priests. LOL!

  69. Jumpy said of his sons’ education on matters of climate change:

    I saw nothing but pro imminent apocalyptic AGW in any of the “education” of my sons on this.

    I’m familiar with both the relevant science and HSIE syllabus and support materials and I’d be very surprised indeed if this were so, even in a presumably non-state school. It’s unremarkable.

    Fortunately, as a responsible parent, I provided some balance.

    This is a persistent problem with those seeking to reject mainstream science on the matter. The issue does not require ‘balance’. It requires data adequacy, accuracy and salience. Unless you are in a position to provide that, (and your characterisation above of the teaching materials your sons received suggests the contrary) your attempts at ‘balance’ will amount to unhelpful noise.

    While discussions of public policy options, which involve an evaluation and weighing of prospective risks and benefits can sometimes call for ‘balance’, science does not. If there is doubt about an important claim or hypothesis or theory, then not ‘balance’ but persistent and scientifically rigorous attempts to shed light where their is darkness are demanded. One may qualify a claim by granting that further knowledge of particular questions may increase one’s confidence that a claim is sound. That’s not balance though. That’s simply being candid about what one may be confident about and what are merely interesting lines of inquiry.

    Anthropogenic Climate Change is now an established theory which has not been refuted. It rightfully underpins discussions of policy options. Your attempts at ‘balance’ and presumably your characterisation of your teachers’ efforts seems irresponsible and likely to subvert their academic progress. Why you would do that merely to prosecute some right-of-centre cultural claim is hard to fathom.

  70. Connor Court also publish some anti-evolution stuff, Helen. Pretty ironic, given Plimer’s unsuccessful lawsuit against some fundies (under the Trade Practices Act, I think) a few years ago.

    Unless he’s doing it for the lulz.

  71. Though there are some people, let’s face it, who take great pleasure in arguing with a sparky how to connect up a Smoke Detector – ainsi garder leur équilibre!

  72. This might be of interest.

    Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region….”Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It’s amazing,” Dr Semiletov said. “I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them.”

    I suggest we implement the following action plan immediately.

    1. Tar and feather these so called scientists for misrepresenting what’s happening for short term profit in the interview and columnist sectors.

    2. Once it appears that the scientists were right embark on a new tactic of optimism declaring that science will save us.

    3. Have tiny panic attack when realising that those scientists who haven’t left the field for being constantly lambasted in the media don’t have enough money to save us as most science for important stuff used to be funded by government.

    4. Spend last days before fall of civilisation attacking scientists for not warning us sooner about climate change.

    (Edit….realised Tyro Rex wrote about the methane plumes up the page!)

  73. Ootz@89

    I fitted my own Smoke detectors, and tested them,(monthly) they work just fine.

    How is your professionally installed in-ceiling foil insulation going?

  74. In a previous climate clippings, I made mention of non-GHG related problems associated with CO2 emissions, specifically ocean acidification. This latest from Skeptical Science.

    Ocean Acidification: Corrosive waters arrive in the Bering Sea

    In part:

    Not only has the burning of fossil fuels increased the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but almost half of that carbon dioxide has dissolved into the ocean, increased acidity by around 30% (over pre-industrial values) and, crucially for shell-building marine life, it has lowered the concentration of carbonate ions, which they use to build their chalky shells.

    Typically, the upper oceans are supersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate (chalk), which simply means there are more than enough carbonate ions in seawater for shell-building. The 3 forms used in shell-building, in descending order of solubility (a measure of how easily they dissolve) being, high-magnesian calcite, aragonite and calcite.

    In extreme cases, once the saturation state of calcium carbonate in seawater falls below a value of 1 (undersaturation), seawater becomes corrosive to shells or skeletons made of that particular material. For example, aragonite undersaturation means seawater is corrosive to magnesian-calcite (being more soluble) and aragonite shells, but not calcite, whereas calcite undersaturation means seawater is corrosive to all 3 forms.


  75. Fran
    Just been over to SS and tried to find some rebuttal of Donna Laframboise book “The Delinquent Teenager…” and no joy.

    Just got my copy in the mail, have you read it?

  76. Jumpy, since you are keen and cramming up on science. Have you noticed in the quote @83, Igor Semiletov is reported to have said:

    ” ……. he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.”

    A rather ambiguous statement to base concern on, don’t you think so? Does that mean he just never been out there before, or these sort of events have never been recorded because of the remoteness of the location, or that these are unprecedented exceptionally large outgassing, however possibly irrelevant to the climate change issue?

    Thus, I would very much appreciate if you could give me a concise and balanced overview of the methane issue in relation to climate change, as well as where Semiletov’s research sits therein, in order to ascertain the degree of warranted concern?

  77. ootz, no offence to sparkies, but some of them can be pretty thick, and get stuff wrong. I’d trust my (unlicensed, hence illegal) father in law to do my wiring over some random electrician found in the yellow pages.

    However, unlike the well-regulated electricians trade, the barriers to entry for credibility in climate science are either quite high (peer review, publishing record, citation count, PhD, etc) or quite low (a blog with lots of hits, a published popular ‘science’ book). Warmists* have both sorts, they have Hanson and Pachauri and Karoly and Jones, but they also have Deltoid and Al Gore and Tim Flannery. Denialists of course only have the second type.

    * I’m reclaiming that term, it’s not an insult, I’m a warmist or a warmenist, it’s true.

  78. Donna Laframboise author of “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert: An Expose of the IPCC” is contributing to a great deal of mirth in IPCC circles because of the Fox News report of her “expose” and the Media Matters follow up.

    It is dealt with on Media Matters here:

    They say:

    Four of the lead authors could have been chimpanzees and it wouldn’t have made a dent in the scientific heft of these massive reports

    The statement on chimpanzees has led to photos of chimps in suits and glasses, with meerschaums etc being sent to Richard Klein. Richard became a lead author at 24 with a mere masters degree. La Rasberry, a redoubtable investigative journalist, found out about Richard by downloading his CV. If you follow the Media Matters link, you’ll see that regarding her ID of authors without Ph Ds (not having expertise), she couldn’t even get that right. So read her book by all means, but don’t expect to be more than entertained.

  79. To be fair, one of the most practical and useful scientists I’ve ever met, with a very long publication record and a history of delivery of policy useful and relevant results, as well as an excellent record in mentoring students, doesn’t have a doctorate. He certainly deserves one, based on practical experience, but credentialism isn’t everything.

  80. I know all the people that Laframboise picked on and their expertise for the roles they play/have played is not in question. It just shows the silliness of such claims. Authorship is also voluntary, so the question of “hiring” is rubbish.

    (Sent from an IPCC meeting full of “volunteers”)

  81. Jumpy, anyone can park their brain on Watts blog. I bet there are more reliable and valid sources to dispel unwarranted concern. Firstly, we are after a balanced and concise overview of Methane in relation to Climate Change. Second, in regards to situating Semiletovs research, I’ll cover the ‘Why we should not be unduly concerned’, as it was me who brought the issue up and to take some of the work load off you. All you have to do is to argue why and about what we should be concerned in relation to his research. Remember, you are good at balance ;-).

    Further, good on you for having installed battery operated smoke alarms by yourself. I trust they are of the photoelectric type . Because : “To maximise early warning, Fire And Rescue NSW recommends installation of photoelectric smoke alarms, hard-wired and interconnected, in all residential accommodation.”. Let’s not argue about that one here though.

    Finally and more importantly, when you receive Donna Laframboise’s book/download, could you confirm to me that on page 14 she wrote :
    “These really are the amounts under discussion. Scientists believe carbon dioxide used to comprise less than 0.03% of the atmosphere – 280 parts per million – prior to the industrial revolution. Currently, at 390 parts per million, it’s approaching 0.04%. Barring emissions reductions, by the year 2100 that number could reach 0.06%. All this fuss is based on a hypothesis that says our planet is so unstable a slight increase in one particular trace gas will trigger disaster.”

    Just for the record, I neither argue with tradies nor scientists for argument sake. Nor do I wholesomely trust any of them. Having been trained in both fields and being labelled in both as unorthodox, I fervently object to how my comment @89 is being interpreted. As it is, I do have a penchant for classical thinking. Thus my point is, the underlying motivation in an argument should be to create an opportunity to expand knowledge and understanding.

  82. Jumpy said:

    Donna Laframboise book “The Delinquent Teenager…” and no joy.

    I’m not surprised. Skeptical Science concerns itself principally with evaluating scientific claims. Ms ‘LaFramboise’ — a strangely apt nym, btw — does not, as far as I can tell, make any scientific claims, though she does seem keen on credentialism, albeit that she doesn’t understand much about how people acquire credentials or standing in science. That will reflect the fact no doubt that apart from completing a bachelor degree in womens studies, she has no academic credentials at all. She’s done some work in photography, apparently. It may well be that she isn’t as academically well-credentialled as Monckton, but she does seem to share his penchant for talking about matters she doesn’t understand and playing to the peanut gallery at Fox.

    I’m rating her contribution with five raspberries, which I assume should please her immensely.

  83. academically well-credentialled as Monckton

    member of the house of Lords, science adviser to UK PM, curer of cancer, deviser of impossible to beat maths puzzle, winner of the Falklands war, have I missed anything?

  84. I believe Monckton has a degree with masters in the classics. I’m ready to be corrected on that.

  85. FTR, as has been canvassed here and elsewhere, he is not a member of the House of Lords, though he does have a hereditary title.

  86. It is unfortunate that for the most the critical voices promulgating skepticism towards the orthodoxy of Climate science have become vaudeville acts. I long for a well reasoned and substantiated argument against some of the more extravagant AGW claims. Thus, I am really disappointed that critical thinking, debate and argument in that domain has degraded to the present level, where skepticism has become vaudeville performances in a popularity contest.

    It appears society has chosen to answer potentially existential questions with ‘Big Brother’ activism (as in TV show), which fosters a kind of ‘entertaining’ troupe of pseudo scientists and caricatures of politicians ‘on show’. Popularity rules – not that this is new, far from it. However what is new, is the scale, complexity and stakes at play- not that anyone cares, as long we are having fun or can remain angry, what ever the chosen trip is one can afford or has the freedom to explore.

    “Mehr Licht! Do open the shutter of the bedroom so that more light may enter.”

  87. There has been a breakthrough in the police investigation of the stolen CRU emails.

    Police officers investigating the theft of thousands of private emails between climate scientists from a University of East Anglia server in 2009 have seized computer equipment belonging to a web content editor based at the University of Leeds.

    On Wednesday, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary entered the home of Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate sceptic blog under the pseudonym TallBloke, and took away two laptops and a broadband router.

  88. Ootz@102
    “””Finally and more importantly, when you receive Donna Laframboise’s book/download, <strong.could you confirm to me that on page 14 she wrote :
    “These really are the amounts under discussion. Scientists believe carbon dioxide used to comprise less than 0.03% of the atmosphere – 280 parts per million – prior to the industrial revolution. Currently, at 390 parts per million, it’s approaching 0.04%. Barring emissions reductions, by the year 2100 that number could reach 0.06%. All this fuss is based on a hypothesis that says our planet is so unstable a slight increase in one particular trace gas will trigger disaster.””””

    No, page 22 in mine( soft cover)

    “””the underlying motivation in an argument should be to create an opportunity to expand knowledge and understanding.””


    My original @82 was meant to convey that my sons weren’t given the chance to use their own brain.

  89. Ootz. I’ll bite. If you want to list specific claims and a source I can look at – and the issue is scientifically interesting I can consider a response (probably post on my blog)

  90. wilful: I believe that Monckton’s ‘impossible to solve’ puzzle was in fact cracked by a couple of mathematicians from Cambridge within about a month of him posing it. I understand they had some difficulty in getting him to cough up.

  91. Roger, thanks for biting, but we may better move ‘The Methane Debate’ to CC 58 since Brian did a post on it there. Really silly of me of bringing the issue up and daring Jumpy to debate on reverse tables. My knowledge of organic chemistry, life-cycle and trends of CH4 as well as it’s suprising complexity, compared to CO2, in influencing climate, given it is such a simple molecule, is rather rudimentary. However, the report as quoted @83 got up my goat in terms of the journalistic spin. As you say it is an interesting and possibly profound issue, the report did not do that any justice. It was sensationalistic and trolling the usual suspects, which inturn will be feeding the eternal table tennis of ‘but sceptical science …. Bolt …. Real Climate ….. watts said’. I am sick of it !! Since this blog is not a strictly science forum, we aught to make sure that the average reader thereof has an opportunity to follow, that basic knowlege, assumption and critical issues are understood, before we can really debate where these CH4 outgassing stand in relation to the climate debate. Then only the real critical issues can be fleshed out. That is what I would like to see happening. However, right at the moment I am dog tired of digging and securing a large drainage pipe, as well as baking a birthday cake and in need of a shower before the party. So yeah it will have to wait till sometimes at the weekend. Your input and accessibility, as always, is much appreciated, cheers Ootz.

  92. Ootz, I agree the linked article was written in alarmist style. The article says Semiletov has been monitoring the methane plumes for 20 years so I’d say his amazement is a worry, but of course there can be no sober scientific assessment yet. Also disturbing is his claim that the concentrations were 100 times greater than usual.

    I do recall, however, that not all scientists with the relevant expertise have been as excited as the Russians about what’s going on up there.

    I did do a longer post on methane back in July 2009. Unfortunately all the images got nuked when we moved to a new server and I haven’t had time to replace them.

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