Some new climate and energy blogs and resources

I intermittently update my left-panel weblinks (Blogroll and Climate Resources). It’s really just a shared personal list — something I use for convenient bookmarking of the climate and energy sites I most regularly visit (you may or may not agree with or like my selection!).

It has sites on the science of global warming (e.g., Atmoz, Hot Topic, Rabett Run, RealClimate), sites that specialise [as opposed to occasionally dabbling] in stomping out pseudo-sceptical nonsense (e.g., Deltoid, DeSmogBlog, Global Warming Debate, Greenfyre’s, Open Mind, SkepticalScience), those that consider climate impacts (e.g., ConservationBytes, Climate Shifts, Maribo), and energy (e.g., Energy Bulletin, Energy Use Statistics, The Oil Drum). There are also the official data sources, (BOM, IPCC, NASA, NSIDC, WoodForTrees, etc.).

Anyway, here are some sites I’ve recently added to my Blogroll and Climate Resources:

Atomic Insights Blog (Rod Adams on energy technology and supply from an atomic point of view)

Climate Debate Daily (a new way to understand disputes about global warming)

Depleted Cranium (deconstructing the psychology of denialism, in all its forms)

More Grumbine Science (thoughts and notes on climate science from a blogging oceanographer and meteorologist)

Nuclear Australia (discusses nuclear power’s role within Australia as part of a diverse and sustainable energy mix)

Nuclear Green (excellent, regular discussion on the feasbility of nuclear energy and the limitations of renewable energy to power society — see also the related blog, Energy from Thorium)

The Oil Drum (Discussions about energy and our future, including peak oil)

Top Ten BNC posts (the most viewed and most commented posts on BraveNewClimate)

I also culled a few that were no longer being updated or where getting just too bizzare and distorted (any guesses? [I'll give you a hint, it starts with 'c' and ends with 'gress']).

I really appreciate the many other sites who link here, but are not link-reciprocated. It’s all a matter of keeping the above list at a manageable size, but I’ll try to keep it cycled to reflect my current foci.

You probably also noticed my new right-panel badge — ‘Nuclear Power — Yes Please!‘. It is, of course, a play on the old antie badge ‘Nuclear Power — No Thanks!‘. Clever. Anyway, I think it sits quite comfortably alongside the Brighter Planet ‘350 Challenge‘ badge [replete with a sun and wind turbines]. As I’ve said, you can have both…

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35 Comments

  1. Barry,

    I have resisted the temptation to link to Climate Debate Daily because of its overt framing of the issue as a bipolar debate: pro v anti. It’s a way of asserting equivalence between crank views and the real stuff: not to mention that it was created by one of NZ’s most noisome sceptic blowhards… (and I’m being polite). Try a bit of QC: check the sources of the top five items on either “side”… you’ll get the picture.

  2. Same reaction as Gareth’s here, an immediate

    Wha-a-a-a-t??

    You _sure_ you didn’t get biased because they listed your site?
    Try tallying up for a while, counting research versus PR/opinion.
    It’s not balanced and it’s not debate, it’s a fake site. Just look:

    Humans do not manage the environment! … continue »
    Change in ocean heat content provides the most effective diagnostic … the oceans appear to have cooled in the past 5 years …continue »
    A nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increases in this greenhouse gas …continue »


    That’s three in a row from the far right side, not selected particularly for bogosity, just grabbed some of the obvious stuff.

    Suggestion — when you see something there, check where else you could have found it — and consider whether pointing to a better source would be easy to do. As they say, if you mix a tank of sewage and a spoonful of wine, you get sewage. And if you mix a tank of wine and a spoonful of sewage, you get sewage.

    Your mileage may vary. But please check it.

    Shudder.

  3. PS, ‘woodfortrees’ — maybe, I like the idea. Gavin’s pointed to it.

    But as I suggested at RC I hope whoever wrote the software can have it, when someone selects a time span, generate confidence intervals or error bars along with just displaying the lines and the linear trend.

    It’s used at RC by people who select short time ranges and see things that aren’t there. Lacking the confidence interval or error bars, someone can easily make any picture they want.

  4. I agree that it is a false ‘balance’. But my listing is justified. Think of it this way:

    1) ‘Hardened’ pseudo-sceptics will NEVER be persuaded that their viewpoint on climate science is flawed. Anyone who’s engaged in this conversation for an extended period must recognise that now. They are not the people that must be reached. They would probably never look at Climate Debate Daily anyway.

    2) On the other hand, ‘casual’ climate change sceptics who may primarily look at that site because they wish to read the “Dissenting voices” column, occasionally will click on an article from the “Calls to action” column, and so get better informed. Over time, their views might evolve. Otherwise, they’ll just skip happily between CO2sceptics, Climate Audit, Marohasy, Watts Up with That and the like and never be exposed to anything other than the disinformation and bizarre tales that populate these fantasy lands. They are not actively searching for other information sources, so Gareth’s RSS feed would not ever reach them [though thanks for the useful links!]. They’ll never reach RC, OM, BNC or the like. At least this way, they occasionally do.

    3) When putting the “Pro” and “Anti” side-by-side, they provide a perfect juxtaposition between the sane and the irrational. It’s almost like the right hand column is a comic caricature of the left. That’s persuasive! Also, you’ve only got to look down the list, and you see the same tripe being constantly recycled.

    4) I strongly doubt that directing BNC readers to CDD will end up converting many to the dark side. Not if they have read BNC and know how to think, that is.

  5. Chuckle. Well, I’d love to see you take a screenshot of their main page for a few weeks and edit in a rating next to any item that you actually look at. _That_ would be instructive — simple, something like plus for a science story with citation; a minus for uncited guy-on-blog opinion; a zero for not even wrong and not worth reading. Something like that.

    I’d really like to see you do that with the selection on the left hand side, actually. Even ignoring the right side, my worry’s the selection on the left is more for “debate” as advertised than for education.

    You know Doonesbury’s “Teach The Controversy” cartoon, don’t you?

  6. Just an update — comments on BraveNewClimte are now threaded (this is applied retrospectively — look above to see). You can “Reply” to any comment to use the threading (which goes up to 3 deep).

    The comments are also broken up into 25 comments per page. If you wish to see older comments, select the link at the bottom of the comments page.

    A question: Do you prefer the older, or new, comments to appear at the top of each page?

  7. Hi, Doug Campbell of Climate Debate Daily here. Thanks very much to Barry for linking to us — I’m gratified that he likes our left hand column. As to whether the left column is mere window-dressing as Hank implies: I’m in charge of the left column and I’m not a climate change skeptic. The left column represents my own imperfect attempts to find the best link of the day for the IPCC’s side. If anyone has suggestions for pro-IPCC articles to put before a few thousand climate change skeptics then please send them my way any time (see the link at the bottom of our website).

  8. I very much prefer older at the top — that’s pretty much blog standard. Following the conversation is much harder the other way round — it goes against the flow of reading down a page. I’m not sure I like nested comments either, for the same reason, but I’m open to persuasion…

  9. Hmm I still think Mr Romm is worth reading BB – he aggregates some useful info (some of the language is a little over the top, I’ll agree).

    Might be worth putting Breakthrough and Ecogeek on here?

    tm

  10. Dr Romm’s climate change posts are sometimes interesting and well done, yes. His energy posts are often bizarre, but in particular, his comments section permits little dissent (I know this from past experience and censoring [i.e. inconvenient comments withheld with no notice or warning -- and they were ultra-polite!]). At least I give the Enders of this world a platform for ongoing dialogue, even if I disagree with them :) But what I find most annoying about his prose is not his ‘over the top’ style, but the fact that all ‘conservatives’ are bad and all ‘liberals’ are good — and energy and climate must be perceived within these parameters. Now I’m certainly a liberal, so if that kind of blinkered political pigeonholing annoys me, it is sure going to aggravate a whole bunch of other folks. This issue is much bigger than partisan sniping. Romm doesn’t seem to get that.

  11. Now this is worth reading (and, relevant to this post, I should note that I also added Monbiot to my bloglist, as I always enjoy reading what he has to say, irrespective of my level of agreement):

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/03/31/an-attack-of-the-bellamoids/

    What do others think? Has Lovelock gone to far when he says:
    “…intemperate injunctions about green imperatives could make [environmentalism] as dangerous” as the ideology of the Axis Powers”.

    My view is that actively objecting to wind farms is as wrong-headed as actively objecting to nuclear. Both are zero-carbon energy generators and should succeed or not based on their relative merits — once a level playing field is established.

    I note also that the UK renewable energy targets are not being sufficiently supported by the government to make them achieveable. I suspect the same will be true of our MRET.

  12. Climate Debate Daily

    I’d looked at this a while back, but I can’t say it does anything for me:

    a) It’s a not a debate, it’s more like getting your news via Twitter from two separate people who don’t talk to each other. In any case, classic debates are silly, although This was actually interesting. See my comments about why live verbal debates are pretty useless.

    b) There is no analysis or way to comment.
    It is always easier to cause confusion than create clarity, and this format gives equal space to both.

  13. Yes, Monbiot is always worth a read. And he’s right about Lovelock. Objecting to wind or solar or any other renewable (except dams) seems to me to be about as silly as vegetarians having a soy vs chickpea fight. Apart from the energy issues, we need a vast range of technologies to absorb the energies of the car freaks who need an outlet for their obsessive tinkering in a post-“We have seen the one true god and it is in my driveway” world.

  14. Doug, thanks for speaking up (let’s see if this branch-blogging thing works).

    How about doing something akin to what I suggested above — an indicator of whether the material cites a decent paper? You could sign up for the peer-reviewed-blogging group and display the icon on posts that were in fact your comment on a peer reviewed journal article.

    “Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.”
    http://bpr3.org/account/createChooseBlog

  15. As somebody famous once said, it isn’t a matter of making the right decision, but making the decision right. Its all about getting the implementation details right. In my business people argue incessantly about which programming language is best, but most of us can write bad programs in any language :)

  16. And, Doug (still here?)

    When I ask that you tag the peer-reviewed links, or when I ask Barry if he can rate which of the links at Doug’s site are worth reading — what I wanted to say is said far better here:

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/04/sustainable-science-journalism-toward.html

    “… filtering is crucial.

    The issue in scientific reporting is about trust. One has to create mechanisms for individual science writers to establish trust with their audience….”

    That’s what I think is missing at the so-called debate site; no clue to which of those items is a link to science rather than opinion.

    Lacking that, it’s teaching the controversy:

    http://dericbownds.net/uploaded_images/Doonesbury.gif

  17. Pingback: The Green Energy Team » Useful Green Energy Resources

  18. Barry

    I was recently pointed towards your blog via comments section on realclimate and spent (some of) the last few days dipping into previous posts.

    Thank you! I think you’re doing a great job of communicating both science and policy, moving easily between the two but taking care not to blur the distinction too much.

    If you haven’t already read it, I’d heartily recommend David Mackay’s book ‘Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air’, available free online:
    http://www.withouthotair.com/

    He also has a somewhat low-key blog:
    http://withouthotair.blogspot.com/
    Not much in the way of comment/discussion yet, but I think it would fit in well on your blogroll on the strength of the posts if nothing else.

    His thinking on energy policy seems similar to yours, and in his book he clearly states (and most importantly enumerates!) realistic strategies for de-fossilising energy and transport. It’s refreshingly free from ideology, and it’s finally starting to get some media coverage in the UK
    (while the book uses the UK as a case study, the ideas are clearly applicable worldwide).

    Taking it together with your blog, I hope I’m not being too optimistic in starting to see signs of international convergence in ideas of ‘what to do’ about the world’s climate/energy problem…

  19. Thanks Matt, I’m glad you’ve found these discussions on energy useful. As you’ll have noticed, I’ve some folks on here who do not agree that nuclear power is needed, and many others that do. Nevertheless, it has stimulated an interesting set of discussions (if at times frustrating!). A friend of mine, Steve Kirsch, said it perfectly in an email to me recently:

    “The point is very smart people disagree. Some think renewables are sufficient, but other very smart people think they aren’t. And neither side seems to be able to sway the other side.

    Any smart decision maker would look at this and say “I can’t afford to be wrong. One of these positions is correct, but I can’t know which one because even the experts cannot agree. Therefore, my safest strategy is to embrace diversity and support nuclear and renewables. If renewables are sufficient, I’ve “wasted” a minor dollar amount. If renewables are not sufficient, my bet on nuclear saved the day.

    I think the big point is experts disagree and so from a policy maker’s point of view, you should create policy so that the public wins in EITHER scenario.

    That is why IFR support is so important. it is a safer, cleaner, and cheaper nuclear that supplies power for over 10,000 years (unlike existing nuclear technology).”

    Matt, we’ve discussed David Mackay’s book a fair bit in the comments here, although not in any blog entries to date. Thanks for alerting me to his blog, which looks excellent (as is his book, even if some folks here have pointed out some potential errors, esp. regarding BEVs vs combustion engines).

    Some samples:
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/11/climbing-mount-improbable/#comment-12085
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/11/climbing-mount-improbable/#comment-12070
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/03/18/the-solar-fraud/#comment-9477
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/03/18/the-solar-fraud/#comment-9389
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/02/12/integral-fast-reactors-for-the-masses/#comment-7115

  20. That is why IFR support is so important. it is a safer, cleaner, and cheaper nuclear that supplies power for over 10,000 years (unlike existing nuclear technology).

    It doesn’t seem reasonable to me that existing nuclear technology would have any great difficulty in continuing to supply energy for 10,000 years. If it had to increase its rate of supply one percent a year, certainly, it would fail several millennia earlier, but so would anything.

    In reality it could only increase about 1,000-fold before it became able to warm the globe noticeably, not by capturing sunlight, but just by direct heating. Levelling off at or below that 1-PW limit, it would require little of the continental crust to be processed in those ten millennia, and the crust right at the surface could be left alone. As I’ve previously noted in these pages, the energy cost of pulverization is not enough to disqualify even ordinary rocks as uranium ores. (Although if some cosmic mishap caused the Earth’s solid body to become thoroughly mixed, then, the uranium would probably be too thin. Over the Earth’s history it has unmixed itself, migrating towards where our feet would eventually be.)

    (How fire can be domesticated)

  21. Ah thanks Barry. I was sure Mackay’s book would be discussed on here somewhere, but have to admit to not following many of the comment threads all the way through to the end! I would be surprised if there weren’t a few errors in such a wide-ranging book, I hope the commenters have taken the time to raise them with the author as he seems be very open to constructive criticism.

    To me the whole renewables vs nuclear debate is somewhat beside the point. If you accept the imperative to make substantial cuts in fossil fuel use- accepting that fossil fuels are the worst of the available options for providing our civilisation’s energy needs- then you have to turn to whatever else is available. Off course that means both renewables and nuclear. It would be great if we were having this debate because governments were presenting us with a choice between a widespread rollout of nuclear power, or a massive expansion in renewables. Unfortunately they’re not.

  22. I second the recommendation of MacKay’s book.

    In particular, whether any particular number is right or not, I like his visualizations.

    In the online version

    this section starts the model he uses, of a balance sheet between energy uses (red) and supplies(green).

    I really liked the section starting here, as it graphically compared 5 different strategies for the UK, as an example.

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