Open Thread 8 – BNC Christmas and New Year 2011

So, the year that was — 2010 — comes to a close, with 115 more BraveNewClimate blog posts in the archives, 13,500 more comments and 430,000 extra hits.

Thanks to all the many BNC guest posters (Gene Preston, Geoff Russell, Peter Lang, John Morgan, DV82XL, Marion Brook, Tony Kevin, John Rolls, Paul Babie, Jim Green, Tom Wigley, George Stanford, Len Koch, Rob Parker, Michael Goggin), numerous regular (and irregular) commenters, and the thousands of readers (including RSS subscribers and general lurkers), for keeping this online community as a thriving and interesting place to visit.

Here’s a toast to another interesting and productive year in 2011!

I’ll be taking a blogger’s holiday for a few weeks over the period 25 December 2010 to 8 January 2011. It’s as good a time as any for a writing break, given that this is a traditionally quiet period in the World of WordPress. From past experience in 2008 and 2009, the blog’s hits and comments dwindle to a trickle over this holiday period, as people go offline and get a life — or else burn their candles at both ends in merriment, partying, relaxing and [in Australia] taking summer holidays. So it’s a good time for me to also recharge my intellectual batteries. Not that I’ll go away entirely — I’ll still be hanging around online and commenting here and there, as the mood takes me. The conversation never dies, it merely quietens!

Still, that certainly doesn’t mean that YOU can’t have your say, about anything to do with climate change or energy, really. That’s what this Christmas and New Year Open Thread is for…


  1. Thanks for all your efforts Barry. I’d give you and BNC contributors credit for doing so much and for what I believe has probably contributed to yesterday’s really important policy announcement.

    I congratulate Anna Bligh, Australian Labor Party’s National President, for her announcement that Labor should remove its ban on nuclear power. The fact she has made this announcement suggests it is a near certainty that Labor will remove its opposition to nuclear power at the Labor Party’s National Conference in December 2011.

    That means that Labor will probably remove its opposition to nuclear at all levels of government: federal and state.

    That is an excellent Christmas present to Australia. Great news.


  2. Peter,Don’t get too enthusiastic about the prognostications of Anna Bligh.As a Queenslander I am only too well aware of the slippery nature of the Beattie/Bligh government.You may have noticed from the the article you linked to that there are a lot of ifs,buts and maybes.
    To put it quite succinctly,I don’t trust the bitch any further than I could kick her.

    Anyway,thanks for your efforts,Barry.I suspect that 2011 will be a very interesting year,probably in ways that won’t please a lot of people.

    BTW,my resident Podargus,having presented the two new additions to their family to me in an Ironbark about 20 metres in front of my verandah,are now gadding about their territory in ways inaccessable to my 500mm telephoto lens.
    Never mind,they’ll be back.

    Cheers – Glen Daly


  3. Merry Christmas to all on BNC and many thanks to Barry for all the work he has put in, aside from his daytime job :), to make this site (IMHO)the stand-out climate and energy blog in Australia.
    I also see and feel a shift in the anti-nuclear populace (including politicians) and hope that 2011 will be the year when nuclear power is accepted as THE answer to climate change and energy security without sacrificing growth and improved living conditions for all people of this world. Having attended many of Barry’s public presentations and debates, listened to numerous radio and TV interviews by him and read many of the articles and papers he has had published, I agree with PL that Barry has been instrumental in powering this shift. Congratulations Barry and have a great holiday!


  4. You never know what to believe with politicians:

    Interesting to note this quote by Anna Bligh:

    In Queensland we have an act of parliament that prohibits any nuclear facilities in (the state) and… would require a referendum (to change it).

    Unless the nuclear ban is constitutionally entrenched (which it almost certainly isn’t), talk of needing a referendum is absolute rubbish.

    You also never know who to believe in the media. The Australian and the SMH gave vastly different accounts of the story.

    I only hope Peter’s optimism reflects the true direction Labor are heading – but I’m sceptical for now.

    Happy holidays to all :)


  5. Thank you Barry for this site and your work. Thanks also to all the posters and commentors. I’m learning a lot about energy, the energy business, and energy politics here and through the linked sites. All the best for all in 2011!


  6. And like many others (as I said on the other thread) I salute Barry and all those who have made this site such a success in educating the public on the key issues surrounding climate change and/or the responses available to us.

    May you all keep safe over the season and enjoy good health and good cheer.


  7. Absolutely with all those wishing good cheer and a fruitful 2011 to BNC crew. Essential reading always.
    Despite the ducking and weaving of Anna B we should keep the pressure on while she’s No 1 and vulnerable.
    Recommended xmas reading is ‘Solar’ by Ian McEwan. Bitingly funny novel about you-know-what. Cheers


  8. Agree with the general sentiment expressed above.
    Ta Barry ,you’re a great “mensch”. Indeed good to see Anna Bligh coming around and making the nuclear power and uranium mining discussion “salonfähig” .


  9. I’m going to send a copy of my letter to Combet, Ferguson, Swan, Paul Howes to Bligh which insists that nuclear power for Australia be put on the convention agenda next year. All of you other bloggers, please send a request as well. And don’t pull your punches. It’s time for Australia to wake up and join the rest of the world as it races towards greater nuclear power generation. Happy Christmas everyone and thanks Barry for your great efforts.


  10. Shall we call 2011 the year we make real progress

    Let’s all work hard in the spirit of Captain Picard to make it so ;-)

    Let us each commit to writing to one ALP member of the Federal or state parliament or of their national executive, each week to advise that they join with those at National Conference who want a review of the policy.

    Let us also direct them here to examine the excellent TCASE series and other relevant posts on matters they may deem pertinent.

    New Years’ resolutions anyone?


  11. “Where to next?” Addinall.If you detect something better than a bum steer please let us know.

    In that honourable rag,The Australian this morning, there is a report that some wind projects are on hold because of the REC confusion,to put it politely.

    From the same source the WA premier is now touting nuclear power and his Labor opposite number is saying, no way.

    Meanwhile,the new Victorian government wants to go back in time,like to the 19th century,and allow cattle back into high country NPs.

    If you like SNAFUs then 2011 should be satisfying if not amusing.


  12. Article in The Australian regarding Barnett supporting nuclear energy:

    Apparently they pay you *68 cents* per kWh for photovoltaic feed-in in Victoria now. Absolutely ridiculous! No wonder electricity bills are so high. If you paid $25 million to install a Hyperion Power Module, it would pay itself off in two months and generate 12.5 million dollars per month.

    That is of course, hypothetically speaking, if the feed-in tarrifs were fairly applied across all different electricity generation technologies, without limits to how much capacity you can have.


  13. Pod, wish I had an answer. I detect nothing other than SNAFU, or in it’s purest sense, “A GOAT FUCK”. Bligh is destined to send a “please explain” letter to Jooles concerning the electricity hikes.
    Do I think anything sensible is going to happen?
    But as always, great work Barry. Say hello to Dr. Steve G. in the marketing school for me.
    Can I humbly suggest that keeping faith in the ‘left’ of politics is NEVER going to get nukes to happen? We need to support the likes of Dr. Dennis Jensen.
    And make Carlo Kopp boss of procurement.
    Have a fun New Year. PS. It is 10C below average in Brisbane, still fucking raining, and a Fin girl I like a lot went home complaining of the cold. Where is my global warming? I paid for it, I want it….


  14. Addinall – you are getting what you “paid for”
    The tropics are shifting southwards and that brings more rain to the north of Australia (and to the south on the tail end of cyclones as has happened this summer).
    I say again – more heat (CO2 ) in the atmosphere means more energy in weather systems which equals more frequent and more intense weather events. Just as predicted. Get used to it!


  15. “One need look no further than The Weather Channel. The massive Northeast blizzard that shut down JFK and other airports this week and the record cold in South Florida could very well be the products of a warming Earth.

    Climate change is defined as more-extreme weather patterns, winter and summer. This has been a year of extremes — record flooding in Pakistan, a drought in Russia, for example. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced recently that 2010 was the hottest year on record.

    What more proof is needed to convince skeptics?”
    Read more:


  16. Scott

    You have to understand that

    1. Addinall likes to stir the possum.
    2. Addinall likes anyone who shares his interest in military-style toys, esp. aircraft, guns etc
    3. Carlo doesn’t like the joint strike fighter and neither does Addinall, and that ticks another important box
    4. He also has an interest in IT — and so does Addinall.

    I’m not sure why any of this especially qualifies Mr Kopp, but there you go.


  17. And Fran believes in:

    – Greens Party policies no matter what the consequences of their implementation would be
    – Unions are best to run the country
    – ‘Left’ is best for everyone
    – More tax because big government knows best
    – Teachers union Marxist dogma
    – Teaching our children Marxist dogma
    – Catastrophe, Armageddon, apocalypse and scary movies
    – everything the IPCC says
    – everything web sites like RealClimate, ScepticalScience and the ABC says

    Helpful to understand where a person is coming from isn’t it!? “But there you go!”


  18. I wonder if the Federal intransigence on nuclear will soften if most States either go Liberal or re-elect Labor govts that are not rabidly anti nuke. That would leave the ACT as the standout.

    Newly Liberal Victoria is in the awkward position that nothing gets near the cheapness of $6/t brown coal. When and if most States go Liberal or nuclear-OK Labor they could knock down the door of the Federal Labor fortress. A few on the inside would help them in. I believe this could happen within 3 years.


  19. Fran Barlow, on 29 December 2010 at 4:24 PM said:
    You have to understand that
    “1. Addinall likes to stir the possum.”

    Unsure what this means. Is it a sexual invite?

    “2. Addinall likes anyone who shares his interest in military-style toys, esp. aircraft, guns etc”

    Lessee, spending on guns in the last decade
    Spending on musical equipment

    Eeeek, I need more guns!

    3. Carlo doesn’t like the joint strike fighter and neither does Addinall, and that ticks another important box
    4. He also has an interest in IT — and so does Addinall.
    I’m not sure why any of this especially qualifies Mr Kopp, but there you go.

    That’s Dr. Kopp you dumbo. However, I am not surprised by your research skills.

    (Dr. Ph.D) Mark Addinall.


  20. Ms Perps,
    Oh f off, this is nonsense. Climate is CAUSED by CO2? How?

    And this is the hottest year on record? Where?
    Not here. Nor in Adelaide. Nor in Perth, nor
    in Darwin, nor in the Isa. Just where is this warmth


  21. Addinall I suggest you do more basic research instead of putting your energy into abusing others. A belief that global warming caused by GHG emissions is not occurring is based a ideological belief rather than scientific data and evidence. Refer For more up to date climate trends also refer to
    For temperature trends check out Bureau of Meteorology.

    For your information the SW of Australia where I live has just experienced its driest year on record and the hottest year on record. We are in a 40 year long drying and warming trend which was predicted by BOM 40 years ago and widely reported in the newspapers at that time.


  22. The Australian in just two days has neatly touched on many of the key points of our energy story:

    – QLD zeros the Zerogen CCS pilot, which is far too expensive to be viable
    – $1.5b of wind farm development in limbo due to collapse of the RET because all the RECs went to rooftop solar PV
    – Anna Bligh calls for nuclear power to be debated at the ALP national conference
    – An editorial supporting Bligh and emphasizing many of the themes developed at BNC
    – Colin Burnett in WA calls for Australia to start planning its nuclear future and identifying reactor sites
    – A cute retrospective on a solar power development that reads thus:

    The Age, 2003:

    Australia’s merciless sunshine is about to be harnessed to produce massive amounts of renewable energy. As part of the process, the tallest man-made structure built, a 1km tall tower, will rise from the red desert in the southwest of NSW. EnviroMission Limited, a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in August last year, plans to have it’s first $800 million solar-thermal electricity generator up and running in 2005 and four more operating by the end of 2010 [now!]. The company says that by the end of this decade they will be able to supply clean renewable energy to more than 1 million households, about one-eighth of the present total.

    The Australian Financial Review, Sep 2010:

    EnviroMission has shifted its focus to the United States, where the company says there are better incentives for solar power technology.

    I predict these themes will become a major story this coming year and the discussion of the economics and practicalities of carbon abatement and energy security will enter the broader national discussion. The resources developed by Barry and others here will become important resources in that debate.

    Merry Christmas Barry and all contributors here. God bless the good ship BNC and all who sail in her.


  23. I think that BNC is not the appropriate site for acrimonious bickering about climate change.
    My impression is that most of the commenters here accept the science.Those few who are sceptical do realize the urgency of removing coal fired electricity generation from Australia.The present system is plainly not sustainable for various reasons.

    We have a very large task ahead in convincing the leadership and the citizenry of the necessity for change.This is a double barrel task.I suspect that this is an issue where the leadership,public and private, is too timid or self interested to take the lead in what most of us know is the right direction.

    The citizenry are going to have to lead and that is a big ask when the problem,to the average Joe & Jill,doesn’t appear to have much,if any,urgency.

    I don’t know what is best way of tackling this problem and I would be interested in hearing the opinions of others.


  24. Addinall could well have an ulterior motive here. The global weather anomaly is likely causing a sudden rethink on the part of many who have been taken in by denialist propaganda. Lowering the tone of the comments may be an attempt to undermine the credibility of the blog.


  25. Speaking as someone who has engaged with Mr Addinall oin usenet for some years, and you knows his posting-style and drivers well, he is someone who likes flames. In fact, many of his responses to me over there were corssposted to a uesent group called “aus.flame”. The entire purpose of that group was to permit people so disposed to flame each other.

    Addinall is not a fool, but his principal drivers are hatred of anything one could associate with the Greens, environmentalism and soft liberalism on the one hand, and what may be called “big stuff” and “big systems” on the other. Nuclear power ticks both those boxes. For the record though, he is in favour of burning/selling all of Australia’s hydrocarbons. Both policies fit the Addinall requirements — big [engineering] and annoying Greens and soft liberals/lefties. His style is the sweeping declarative statement, sometimes including copy and pasted uncommented text from some place he has dug up on the internet.

    On more than one occasion he has addressed me over in usenet as “a stupid bint”. On one occasion he even accused me of trying to ruin his access to the internet and threatened vengeance. He is, let us be polite as Barry suggests, an eccentric.


  26. Podgarus,

    My impression is that most of the commenters here accept the science. Those few who are sceptical do realize the urgency of removing coal fired electricity generation from Australia. The present system is plainly not sustainable for various reasons.

    I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood. I want:

    1. sustainable economic growth for all regions of the world at the fastest possible pace with minimum boom-bust amplitude

    2. free trade

    3. long term energy security

    4. reliable, high quality energy supply

    5. least cost energy

    6. improving health, safety and environmental impacts of energy supply and use

    Global warming consequences of fossil fuel use is just one of the impacts and it must be kept in proper perspective with all the others.


  27. And for the record Peter, with a caveat on #2, I’d broadly endorse the entire 6 things.

    My caveat involves protection of benefits that iterations of “free trade” may miss. (e.g. no slave, indentured, small child labour, adequately safe working conditions, fair contracts, etc)


  28. Fran,

    I agree with your caveat.

    However, I how that can and should the developed countries impose their beliefs on the developing countries. If they want economic growth, who are we to say no, we know better and you shall do as we say?

    We cannot expect developing economies to have the same standards as we’d expect in developed countries. So there must be a progressive transition in implementing the protections and benefits, perhaps roughly in line with the growing GDP of the growing economy. After all, our protections and benefits have improved as we developed and will continue to improve as we continue to develop. So the same will happen in the developing countries.


  29. Well yes, it would not be feasible to require that people in developing countries immediately attain benefits comparable to ours.

    It would however be feasible to require compliance with minimum safe working practice laws, restraints on excessive working hours, child labour, requiring children to 15 years of age to be educated to an ac ceptable standard of literacy through properly designed courses and minimum numbers of school hours etc. We could require good environmental practice surrounding waste handling.

    We could require that workers in developiong countries be given benefits at a rate at least comparable with the proportion of AFTWE for that category in a country such as Australia.

    And we could impose tariffs on non-compliant traders (not whole countries) and hypothecate those tariffs (and some top up aid funds) to support the aims of those programs in regions that were falling behind, by providing quality education and voucher-based stipends for families.


  30. Fran,

    If you require all that nothing will be done.

    Regulation can do more harm than good. Forcing western beliefs on developing countries can slow growth and cause hardship to be maintained for much longer as a result than if the growth had been allowed.

    A parallel can be drawn with what the activism which lead to excessive regulation has done to slow the development and implementation of nuclear energy over the past 40 years. The result is that nuclear energy is far more expensive than it would otherwise have been and implementation effectively stopped in the developing countries. This means GHG emissions are some 20% higher than they would have been and will continue to be some 20% higher for decades than they would have been had the do-gooders not managed to slow the development of nuclear. There are many other examples of where the do-gooders with their bright ideas have done so much harm. Regulations requiring bio-diesel, resulting in deforestation of equatorial forests, and banning DDT come to mind.


  31. If you require all that nothing will be done

    If you don’t require something very much like that:

    a) whatever is done will be more apparent than real
    b) people will complain that the whole exercise was a waste of time or a fraud

    Regulation can do more harm than good.

    It can, but it need not, and no regulation means that you have five years olds crawling under spinning jennys for 14 hours per day, as at the industrial revolution. In Bangladesh, for example, not all births are even registered and children from poor families really are articles of sexual, industrial and domestic trade.

    Regulations {…} banning DDT come to mind.

    This is a furphy or at best misleading. The widespread use of DDT in agriculture was never regulated, but deprecated, mainly because this would prejudice the utility of DDT in control of malaria-bearing mosquitos. This old trope is trotted out against The Greens often by people who know it is a lie. I’m hoping you aren’t in that category.

    By all means though, read up on the DDT trope here:

    Take your pick as there is a very useful discussion.


  32. And for the record, ecroachments by cattle ranchers and those wanting timber, and ool for pharmaceutiocal products and confectionery, have done far more than biofuels ever could to harm equatorial forests. This too is an old canard.

    This is not, of course, an argument for resort to biofuels, each of which ought to be evaluated for its technical, environmental, financial, schedule and operational feasibility.


  33. Fran,

    The point is that the do-gooders keep on insisting that their beliefs be imposed on societies (their own and others), but they do not have a good appreciation of all the factors involved. The Greens Party policy platform shows just how ignorant of economics and finances they are. They want more government funding for education, health, environment, public services etc., but they also want to block the very industries that create the revenue to pay for all that.

    Financing is the key. If a company is thinking of investing in a developing country it evaluates the financial risks and the return on investment. The financiers do this too. The return on investment has to be sufficent to attract investors to take the greater risk involved in investing in developing countries. The more regulations you force on the business the less attractive the investment becomes until the point where it is simply not viable. I trust you can put this together. It is not just one business. It is many businesses. They have different break even points. The more restirctions we impose the less businesses will invest, and the less each one will invest. So the slower will be the country’s growth out of poverty.

    I believe it is best to allow free trade, and allow these countries to grow at the fastest possible rate. This brings more trade, more income, more jobs, more funding for health and education. They are then in an improving position and better able to negotiate better contracts and apply the regulations that are best for them. This is better than do-gooders from the west telling them what is good for them.

    Your prescriptive approach sounds a bit like that used by the religious missionaries of days gone by to justify their actions.


  34. The point is that the do-gooders keep on insisting that their beliefs be imposed on societies …(their own and others),

    The do gooders are typically part of those societies, though we tend to hear more from those who speak our language since they tend to be easier to quote in our English-language press. In societies where there is nothing like democracy or a civil society, to speak of westerners imposing their mores on developing societies is just a cynical apologia for inequity, dressed in the finery of developing world empowerment. The local elites who run those places are not entitled to speak with impunity about what “their” people need as they often have a serious conflict of interest.

    Moreover, human rights are universal. We cannot say that they are right here and frivolous in another jurisdiction.


  35. Fran,

    The banning of DDT caused tens of missions of deaths. Anti-nuclear activism has caused excessive regulation, greatly increased costs, slowed roll-out, slowed development and cause GHG emissions to be about 20% higher than they would have been now and to remain some 20% higher for decades to come. These are the sorts of bad policies imposed on us by the doo-gooders. Pricing carbon in Australia, before we have removed the impediments to low-cost nuclear and before the largest emitting economies have reached a workable agreement on how to price carbon emissions, would be another really bad policy.

    Many major scams have been highly successful in the European ETS. One is reported to have taken up to 2% of Denmark’s GDP (38 billion kroner, $7 billion).


  36. Fran,

    You are missing the point. Just as stopping development of nuclear has resulted in higher costs and higher emisisons now and for a long time to come, so too would imposing the endless list of restrictions you and your ilk would like to impose on companies trying to establish industries in developing countries. Restricting free trade is one of the worst things we could do.


  37. “Speaking as someone who has engaged with Mr Addinall”

    Dr. Addinall. XXXXXX.

    ” oin usenet for some years,”

    WHAT? Are you seriosly putting yourself up as a
    USENET contributor?

    XXXXXX, that defies imagination…

    “and you knows his posting-style and drivers well, he is someone who likes flames. In fact, many of his responses to me over there were corssposted to a uesent group called “aus.flame”. The entire purpose of that group was to permit people so disposed to flame each other.”

    aus.flame was created about the same time as aus.politics. On and off, populated by a few idiots, but a 20 year history will find the group populated by the brightest.

    Tomasso, Clown, Friendless, DAC, Addinall, Wiley
    et alia (notice et alia.) If you don’t like it, don’t post, and don’t read…

    “Addinall is not a fool”

    Well, that was the opinion of the people who gave me post-graduate bits of paper, and a few prizes…

    “, but his principal drivers are hatred of anything one could associate with the Greens, environmentalism and soft liberalism on the one hand,”

    Not really. I just hate you. You are a XXXXXX idiot.

    “and what may be called “big stuff” and “big systems” on the other. Nuclear power ticks both those boxes.”

    Nuclear power is never going to make it whilst Barry plays to the lunatic left. Those of us with a real education AND some money, are going to run a mile from a XXXXX fool like you.

    ” For the record though, he is in favour of burning/selling all of Australia’s hydrocarbons. Both policies fit the Addinall requirements — big [engineering] and annoying Greens and soft liberals/lefties. His style is the sweeping declarative statement, sometimes including copy and pasted uncommented text from some place he has dug up on the internet.
    On more than one occasion he has addressed me over in usenet as “a stupid bint”. ”

    Sorry, that should have been “Stupid uneducated XXXXXX”.

    “On one occasion he even accused me of trying to ruin his access to the internet”


    You XXXXXX jest!!!!
    Never read my paper on Networks in the 90s’?
    The fact that exactly 21,227 in Australia were connected to the ‘new’ internet? Just before I got back in country? And you have not noticed that own my own domains in a few countries!???

    You stupid XXXXX bint.
    For anyone interested, the Greens posted that the ‘Science is DONE’ and it is ‘statistically proven’ that AGW is a real fact.

    I am yet to see that proof.
    I asked for some, and the Greenies
    banished me from their Facebook page!

    “and threatened vengeance”

    I don’t ever threaten. Can’t remember ever having
    done so. Can I take this statement to court?

    “. He is, let us be polite as Barry suggests, an eccentric.”

    Did Barry say that about me! Well, shows some balls anyway. Next time I wander past the Masonic Hall I can cross the street and ask why he wants to publish this opinion.

    Mark Addinall.


  38. Addinall – your foul mouth won’t change the (to you) unpallatable fact that humans are causing this current warming. The answer to your inane question as to where it is warmer is – WORLDWIDE, OVERALL TEMPERATURE. If you choose not to accept the NASA figures and the overwhelming scientific evidence, that is your prerogative but, it doesn’t make your OPINION any more than that – your UNVALIDATED opinion.
    Peter – I also agree with most the points you made, except, I am with Fran 100% regarding working conditions etc. Nothing excuses ill-treatment of children and the working poor who had few options – not even increasing the profit line. I urge you to read the social history of England during the Industrial Revolution and challenge you not to be touched by the dreadful plight of the working class or appalled by the grasping greed of the already wealthy employers.


  39. Addinall – you claim to be well-educated but are also patently unintelligent, anti-intellectual, foul mouthed, mysogynistic and a total waste of space. Oh, sorry – I forgot – that should be Dr. Addinall. Poser!


  40. Fran,

    I’ve been thinking some more about the requirements you would impose on developing countries to allow them to participate in “free” trade. Would your require that they:

    1. impose a carbon price?
    2. don’t eat meat?
    3. depopulate
    4. don’t have sex
    5. have anti-pornography bars on their internet connections

    What other ideals would you require before you would allow “free” trade?


  41. Ms Perps,

    I don’t understand what you are referring to when you say “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”.

    However, I think, like Fran, you probably have little understanding of the consequences of the restrictions you would like to impose.

    Consider what you think is a “fair days work for a fair days pay”, and consider how everyone else would want to impose their beliefs and think where this would lead. There would be no “free trade”. Everyone would be wanting to impose their values on others (within their own country and everywhere else). That is what the Greens want to do now through ever tightening regulations, restrictions and expansion of the “nanny state”.

    Can’t you see where this would lead if it was allowed to get started at all. Everyone would want to impose on the developing country their own strongly held beliefs.

    The only way is to have totally free trade. The development will come and all the other benefits will follow, including democracy, improved governance and all else you are wanting to impose as a condition of free trade. But if you impose your excessive requirements at the start, there will be no development, or at least, its pace will be slowed over what it could be.

    Regarding “treat others as you would expect to be treated”, I agree. But it’s a real pitty that tose of your persuasion don’t police that amongst yourselves. That would be a really good start. Once that is demonstrated, I’ll believe it is actually going to happen. I think you, like most, love serving it up but don’t like the response.


  42. Peter Lang and Fran Barlow:

    You both agree with each other about how you would like the future to unfold. Essentially, you would wish those in Third World and Developing Nations to attain living standards comparable with those in Developed Nations without significant detriment to the living standards of the latter. You differ only in the degree of laissez faire that should be allowed in your well-intentioned and benign, but idealised, future wish lists.

    Your imagined future may just be possible in the absence of energy constraint, in the absence of any adverse impacts of using the vastly greater amounts of energy that will be needed in the future you hope for and on the assumption that global population will stabilise or fall in consequence of the hoped for increase in living standards.

    Perhaps, a massive and rapid nuclear roll-out will achieve what you hope for. Little else currently seems to offer the remotest chance. If we don’t go with the approach that you both seem to want (nuclear) as fast as is needed to prevent energy constraint, what then? The universality of human rights will surely come to be seen as a noble, ideological and idealistic abstraction of the uniquely human mind which cannot hold up when the more primal directive of survival of the fittest begans to gain ground.

    I am asking you both to imagine a future in which human survival, let alone quality of life, depends upon access to adequate resources. After all, this is what has always been the norm for populations of non domesticated species and, until the advent of modern agriculture and subsequently fossil fuels, was the case for man.

    I would ask you the somewhat cliqued question of your responses to being marooned on a lifeboat with limited rations. I think Fran might be happy to follow a fair share policy that eventually led to the lingering deaths of all, because, as Peter says, she seems to be a genuine do-gooder (and none the worse for it). Peter, however, appears to pride himself as a realist/pragmatist. I can only suppose, therefore, that his promotion of free trade is based upon a lack of imagination that energy (and, in consequence, all other resources) will ever become so constrained as to threaten the survival of his own genes. It may, of course, be attributable to a failure to acknowledge that peak oil and the adverse consequences of AGW will be of major significance.

    I am in no way attempting to make moral judgements. In fact, I am somewhat bewildered as to the optimum path forward. However, I remain sufficiently alarmed about future prospects to advocate a crash programme of nuclear roll-out (the war footing approach) as our best hope. I don’t think Peter’s free market advocacy will provide a timely solution. This is not a left/right issue. Rather, it is one that depends upon one’s judgement of the magnitude and acuteness of the problems we face.


  43. Douglas Wise,

    Your post contains the usual patronising stuff I am so used to receiving from you. But from my perspective it is simply based on the usual arguments based on propogating fear of catastrophe, armageddon, appolcaypse etc that many scams and religions depend on.

    I am asking you both to imagine a future in which human survival, let alone quality of life, depends upon access to adequate resources.


    Oh yea! We’ve been through this a dozen time before. Yawn!

    If we can’t focus on making substantive progress in the next year, five years and ten years what is the point in fretting over what will be the case many decades hence. The same silly arguments that you are using have been used for the past 40 years to block nuclear, promote renewable energy, block free trade, promote bio-fuels and the resulting deforestation, ban DDT and cause tens of millions of deaths, and promote Kyoto, ETS and carbon taxes. Note all these are policies pushed by the Left; all are symbolic gestures, none are economically rational and all have done enormous damage.

    Douglas Wise, you must have missed this post, or else you didn’t get it or don’t want to.


  44. Douglas Wise,

    You may have missed this one too:

    It will provide some background to assist you. I find it really frustrating to have to keep posting and linking to the same material because you clearly haven’t understood it or appreciated how it comes together.

    I notice that nearly everyone avoids seriously questioning whether or not a Carbon Price is the best way to reduce emisisons. It seems people have a belief, they want a symbolic gesture (another one) and that is all that matters – AGAIN!


  45. Douglas Wise

    You differ only in the degree of laissez faire that should be allowed in your well-intentioned and benign, but idealised, future wish lists.

    Rubbish. We differ in that Fran is promoting her Marxist dogma and I am trying to explain to those that want to listen what is pragmatic and proven by history to be achievable. If you don’t understand by now that free trade is good and protectionsim and excessive regulation and socialism (like UK and Europe) is bad, then there is little point in trying to discuss this – as we have found in many discussion on BNC over the past year or more.

    Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade, argues that free trade should be implemented and it should be free of all other agendas. I agree.

    Craig Emerson’s recent speech:

    The point, dear Fran, Ms Perps and Douglas Wise, is that we need free trade, with no connections to trying to impose our beliefs on other countries through trade. If you want to argue for this, why not simply invade the other country and impose your beliefs that way?


  46. As Terry Krieg suggested I have sent letters to Bligh, Barnett, Gillard and Abbott expressing my support for the use of nuclear power in Australia to reduce carbon emissions. Using data I obtained from this site, I also included objective evidence showing that renewables are a costly, unreliable source of electricity which do do not result in a reduction in GHG emissions. Note that while I have never received a reply from emails I usually get a considered response to letters and urge all from BNC to follow Terry’s lead..


  47. Douglas says:

    I would ask you the somewhat cliched question of your responses to being marooned on a lifeboat with limited rations. I think Fran might be happy to follow a fair share policy that eventually led to the lingering deaths of all, because, as Peter says, she seems to be a genuine do-gooder {typo corrected: FB}

    Granting the constraints, yes, though, if one entered the lifeboat with a calorie surfeit, what was fair sharing might vary! In extremis, what is fair is what people need.

    Of course, Earth has a lot more possibility than a lifeboat. We can easily contrive resources that people in lifeboats can’t.

    This is not a left/right issue. Rather, it is one that depends upon one’s judgement of the magnitude and acuteness of the problems we face

    It shouldn’t be a left-right issue, but regrettably, the beggar-my-neighbour impulse if common on the right. It should be about what serves humanity as a whole, and that which underpins the wellbeing of those of us least well placed. For a variety of reasons (some of them obvious), the right tend to be less motivated by such concerns.


  48. Peter Langs said:

    Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade, argues that free trade should be implemented and it should be free of all other agendas.

    You’re agreeing with something he didn’t claim. Instead, he set down at least 5 “agenda” items and none of them excludes what I proposed.


  49. Peter said:

    we need free trade, with no connections to trying to impose our beliefs on other countries through trade. If you want to argue for this, why not simply invade the other country and impose your beliefs that way

    Again, petitio principii [I am not trying to impose [my/our] beliefs.on other countries. I’m trying to underpin rights recognised as universally applicable since WW2 and supported within thoise societies by those who are disempowered.

    There’s nothing simple, (much less dispositive of net utility) about invading another country. The history of the last 2 decades attests to that.


  50. When backed into a corner, one straw grasped at by anti-nukes is the ‘nuclear power can’t cope with hot weather’ line spuriously based on the French experience in the heat waves of 2003 and 2009. But in today’s Adelaide Advertiser we read that wind energy has much more substantive technical issues:

    “The reduction in wind generation during peak periods, or at the hottest times of the day, is partially attributed to limits placed on some turbines at high temperatures to prevent overheating,” an AEMO spokeswoman said.

    “During the top 10 per cent of summer peak demand periods, approximately three per cent of total wind generation-installed capacity contributed to demand.”

    The full article is here.


  51. It makes you wonder why we should pay a premium price for a disappointing product like summer wind power. That premium is RECs, FiT, soft loans, whatever.

    Note that Florida’s manatees seek warmth in the cooling water of a thermal power plant

    I recall some have suggested air cooled mini NPPs for example at Olympic Dam. However air cooled coal plant like Kogan Ck and Milmerran Qld have a hot weather cooling option – they spray river water on the outside of the radiator. What happens when there is no river?


  52. Peter Lang:

    You suggested that I had missed two of your links (cites) and that, had I read and assimilated them, I would no longer be so ignorant as to espouse the views that you so dislike.

    It might surprise you to learn that I did read them and, furthermore, that I did not disagree either with their contents or conclusions.

    The first (Gapminder) noted a correlation between various indices and wealth. You seem to interpret this as indicating that all other nations have to do to emulate the wealthy West is to democratise, liberalise trade and increase their use of electricity. My interpretation is different. I would suggest that the future will not necessarily resemble the recent past (when exponential growth was assumed to be and appeared to be limitless). I am wondering what will happen when and if such growth is constrained or ceases. I am asking you to contemplate this scenario as well, but your mind appears closed. What seems certain is that the survival of global capitalism is dependent upon continuing economic growth which, in turn, requires access to plentiful and affordable energy. It may be that capitalism will survive in some regions or nations with unconstrained “ecosystem services” or in nations that have the capability of obtaining such from weaker neighbours. I accept that Australia sits on plenty of resources, but am less convinced that these could be defended and kept out of the clutches of more militarily powerful neighbours who were not so blessed.

    The second citation deals with the need for global energy availability to double in 4-5 decades and for its unit price to be less costly than at present. I totally support this point of view and consider it necessary if the global energy constraint discussed above is to be avoided. I think we both agree that that is dependent upon the scale and rate of deployment of nuclear fission power.

    I think that you would probably admit that economic power is shifting to Asia where “state capitalism” appears to be bringing greater success than free market capitalism. It is probably for this reason that the nuclear renaissance is actually happening in Asia, but not yet in the West. I might be inclined to agree with you that the Left wing and do-gooding tendencies so prevalent in liberal democracies, though “civilising”, represent severe dampeners on economic competitiveness. I have not read of many mass anti-nuclear demonstrations in China, for example.

    I am beginning to conclude that global leaders are mainly heading in the right direction, but, collectively and presently, at a rate that is not compatible with a benign outcome for other than a minority of the global population. I also think, possibly counter-intuitively, that citizens of liberal, developed democracies may not be among this minority unless their leaders take much more dramatic steps to secure their energy security (by developing nuclear power quickly and energetically as a priority). IMO, leaving matters to the free market won’t get us to where we need to be in time.

    I admit that I am “thinking aloud” and my views are not fixed. I am sure that I could learn a lot from other contributors, but I do feel that there is no give and take when attempting to raise issues with you, Peter. All you do is to repeat, paraphrase or cite what you have already written or accuse me of selective quoting when I raise what seem to me to be inconsistencies in some of your posts.


  53. Fran :

    You state that a “beggar my neighbour” impulse is common among those on the Right. I suppose that this may be how those on the Left choose to caricature things. I would suggest that beggaring one’s neighbour might be an interpretation of placing primacy on the interests of self and fellow tribal members. I could respond that you ought to know where good intentions (so prevalent among the Left) lead to, but you might respond that you don’t believe in hell! Anyway, it is very refreshing to be able to have a rational debate with someone from the opposite side of the political spectrum. For this reason, I thought I’d raise a couple of somewhat tangential issues for your consideration:

    1) There is a species of small mammal which lives in an environment subject to sudden changes every few years. Researchers were very surprised to learn that there were, within the population, two distict “personality” types (actually determined largely by brain and behavioural responses to adrenal hormones) which were co-dominant. In stable conditions, the non fearful “happy go lucky” confident individuals were preponderant. However, roles were reversed in periods of environmental change at which time timidity became a selective advantage.

    2) I recently read in my newspaper that researchers had discovered anatomical characteristics in the human brain that allowed them to predict likely Left/Right voting patterns. Conservatives had larger amygdalas and differences in cingulate areas – structures related to fear responses.

    I have noted in the UK that our Left leaning governments tend to expand the welfare state to the extent that economic disaster looms and the “nasty” party is then called in to attempt to fix things, not necessarily successfully. Thus, the ungrateful tail returns to wag the dog. I suspect that a liberal democracy with its attendant welfare state is a luxury that can only exist in times of plenty. I also believe that a state that allows its individual citizens to enrich themselves by exporting capital and technological know-how may be placing itself in a weakened position relative to one that does not.

    If I were to suggest that your beliefs were those of the happy go lucky small mammal and mine were reflected by the behaviour of the timid co-dominant, i would conclude that my time in the ascendency could be about to happen. I draw no comfort or feelings of moral or intellectual superiority from this conclusion. It is merely one that I am driven towards as a biologist with some little understanding of human and animal brains and knowledge of how things work in the natural world where survival of the fittest rules and universality of rights is an unknown concept.


  54. Any qualified may want to intervene at Energy magazine with claims that Jacobson has received a “peer” review go ahead

    From: Commenter Alan Burke

    ” Mark Z. Jacobson has provided me a link in email to a two-part article to be published in a few weeks in the journal “Energy Policy”. He and Mark A. Delucchi show how we can wean ourselves almost entirely off fossil fuels by 2030, using only sustainable water, wind and solar sources. This is an updated and revised version of their original report published in Nov. 2009 by Scientific American.

    Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part I: Technologies, Energy Resources, Quantities and Areas of Infrastructure, and Materials

    Click to access WWSEnergyPolicyPtI.pdf

    Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part II: Reliability, System and Transmission Costs, and Policies

    Click to access WWSEnergyPolicyPtII.pdf

    Analysis spreadsheet


  55. The Alberta Oil Sands are simply the worst thing that has happened to Canada. It has become the 800lbs gorilla in the energy debate in this country. The politics, of course, are as dirty as the product, and it is making it almost impossible to effectively push for the required legislation to bring the sector under control.


  56. Peter Lang,it seems counter intuitive to advocate less regulation when it is obvious that a lack of regulation and enforcement of existing regulations has been a major contributor to the ongoing global financial crisis.

    As for free trade,privatization of public assets and globalization they are very visible manifestations of the growth at any cost mindset which is bound to hit a brick wall sooner rather than later.This is because of resource and environmental limitations exacerbated by exponential growth in population.

    It is well past time that we realized that,on a finite planet,we can’t continue the present mad rush for more,more,more of everything.

    Your conflict with Fran and Douglas illustrates the difference in mind set of the conservative versus the progressive.I hate using labels like this,partly because I don’t fit in any known label but,for purposes of clarity,we have put some things in little boxes sometimes.

    If you know of Bill Mitchell,professor of economics at Newcastle University (NSW) you probably won’t agree with his ideas on Modern Monetary Theory, unemployment and other matters of import.

    However,I would recommend a reading of his 29 December blog.

    You may get some entertainment out of it if nothing else.


  57. Douglas Wise said:

    I would suggest that beggaring one’s neighbour might be an interpretation of placing primacy on the interests of self and fellow tribal members. I could respond that you ought to know where good intentions (so prevalent among the Left) lead to, but you might respond that you don’t believe in hell!

    You;re right. I don’t believe in hell. I also don’t believe we need to invent mythical places with which to scare ourselves whn humans have authored things as bad as can be imagined here in the observable world.

    It is true that good intentions are not enough to ensure goud outcomes, though if they are the resulty of intellectually rigorous reflection with others, they are a good foundation for good policy. We also need good process, which will necessarily entail an active role in system design for intended beneficiaries and those whose legitimate interests may well be compromised by the new system.

    I speak often of inclusive governance with this in mind.

    I recently read in my newspaper that researchers had discovered anatomical characteristics in the human brain that allowed them to predict likely Left/Right voting patterns. Conservatives had larger amygdalas and differences in cingulate areas – structures related to fear responses

    Let us simply observe, politely, that the methodology was seriously flawed. More generally, I am sceptical of neurophysiological explanators of culture. I won’t say that such matters are irrelevant, but I’d be very surprised if this could bear witness to more than generic banality. As your own text attests, left and right are used very loosely indeed.

    I have noted in the UK that our Left leaning governments tend to expand the welfare state to the extent that economic disaster looms and the “nasty” party is then called in to attempt to fix things, not necessarily successfully.

    I have been paying attention to UK governments since at least 1974, and to the best of my knowledge, there have been no left-leaning governments in the UK since that time, unless one means by that no more than a government that appears measurably more communitarian and liberal than some previous conservative government. Callaghan was certainly no left-leaning figure, nor Blair or Brown after him.

    I don’t know enough of the governments of the immediate post-War period to say the same thing.

    If I were to suggest that your beliefs were those of the happy go lucky small mammal and mine were reflected by the behaviour of the timid co-dominant,

    You’d be taking biology further than it should. We are humans, and although we are certainly part of the animal kingdom, that “sapiens” in our species name counts for a very great deal. I was listening to interviews with Ingrid Betancourt and Aung Sun Suu Kyi before her and it struck me that we humans are not at prisoners of our biological urges.

    I draw no comfort or feelings of moral or intellectual superiority from this conclusion. It is merely one that I am driven towards as a biologist with some little understanding of human and animal brains and knowledge of how things work in the natural world where survival of the fittest rules and universality of rights is an unknown concept

    Well there’s your problem. It might have been fine for Spencer, and even less reputable figures following him (no names of course) but it’s a very lazy piece of anthropology at best.


  58. I stayed away from the Addinall hiatus as it involved more heat than light. Apparently most of you have a cow whenever anyone points out that CO2 is not a major driver of climate change.

    The present so called “Warm Period” is actually part of an Ice Age. For more than 90% of the last 10,000 years temperatures have been higher than today. There is plenty of evidence if you will keep an open mind. Take a look at the following:

    By coincidence Don Easterbrook posted similar conclusions two days before my post:


  59. gc in which of the last 10,000 years was the seven billionth live human born? That seven billionth human who begins life in 2011 will need food, shelter, a job and personal mobility. Those needs were easier to satisfy thousands of years ago.


  60. Fran:

    You suggest that I draw inappropriate lessons from studies of non human animals. You may well be right. I have spent considerable time thinking about the extent to which humans have been able to distance themselves from the rest of the animal kingdom. Do we really and, uniquely in the animal kingdom, have free will? How much of our brain is hard wired in a manner similar to those of other animals? There are only small differences between higher non human primate brains and our own (the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex being the most obvious) but great apes are closer to rats than humans in their cognitive ability.

    We have obviously gained huge evolutionary advantage through brain evolution. This is, arguably, an advantage based principally upon superior levels of cognition. The concurrent evolution of self consciousness and, with it, a social conscience has been considered by some to be an epiphenomenon – a property co-emerging with the evolutionarily advantageous superior cognition which, itself, has no evolutionary benefit and may have built in disadvantage for species survival in the long term. This is, if true, admittedly all rather depressing, but I think you shouldn’t, for this reason, just dismiss the hypothesis out of hand.

    Your social conscience equips you with a strong concept of fairness. We all tend to raise our children to believe in a sense of fair play. Nevertheless, we all know that life is very often not fair at all. In times of plenty, there may well be advantage for social animals to play fair, but is it necessarily going to remain the optimum strategy when resources become limited? Is now the right time to be brainwashing our offspring to be fair? Are the Chinese being fair? They apparently have no wish to share their rare earth minerals with the rest of us. Do you blame them? Should you blame them? I don’t know the answers, but I suspect that you will say you do. You are driven by a strong moral compass which, though not dependent upon belief in a deity, is, nevertheless, quasi-religious. I am not criticising – I have my own moral compass but the needle doesn’t always point in a single direction.

    Finally, you surprise me (and, no doubt, would astonish Peter Lang) by suggesting that the UK hasn’t had a left leaning government since 1974. I would define our Labour governments as giving primacy to wealth distribution without sufficient regard to its creation in the first place and Conservatives as having reciprocal policies. Neither party has been particularly successful. I suspect that this may be due to growing scarcity of natural (and particularly energy) resources combined with liberal policies that have enabled a few individuals and companies to enrich themselves at the expense of their fellow citizens by exporting capital and technology to nations with cheaper labour. As I am neither an economist nor a politician, I may be being massively naive and totally wrong. If others could point out my logical inconsistencies, I’d be happy – even relieved – to change my currently depressing views.


  61. Spangled trolled (badly):


    Also, I thought that one of the more interesting statements of the past year by a scientist [ and one of the warming persuasion to boot] was “there has been no statistical warming since 1995″.

    For pity’s sake … you can’t even get your troll talking points accurate. If you understand the first thing about statistical significance in climate change measurement, then you can only be recklessly making stuff up.


  62. Douglas Wise observed:

    Your social conscience equips you with a strong concept of fairness. We all tend to raise our children to believe in a sense of fair play. Nevertheless, we all know that life is very often not fair at all. In times of plenty, there may well be advantage for social animals to play fair, but is it necessarily going to remain the optimum strategy when resources become limited? Is now the right time to be brainwashing our offspring to be fair? Are the Chinese being fair? They apparently have no wish to share their rare earth minerals with the rest of us …

    You see? This is the beggar-my-neighbour impulse I so often see in those on the right.. It’s not just unworthy, it’s irrational. In the end, every human being benefits when we collaborate equitably.

    Do you blame them? Should you blame them? I don’t know the answers, but I suspect that you will say you do.

    I do. It is the objective of every human being to identify and realise his/her possibility, yet we cannot hope to get very far at all with this, save in concert with others involved in the same project. We can know ourselves by learning of others and their needs, and sharing, where we reasonably can, their purpose, while distinguishing our own.

    It follows that it is not merely ethically indefencible to trample upon the legitimate claims of others, but subversive of our own longterm interest, because whatever temporary advantage we might have could never compensate for the damage we would have inflicted on our journey to insight. We would have to live with lies and dissonance.

    Blame has nothing to do with the matter. We take others as we find them, dealing fairly in every case, according to the context in which we trade. We hate nor fear nobody, granting to each no more than that he or she is legitimately entitled and ensuring so far as we can, that nobody is denied what they need to do what we demand by right as human beings. We apply the Golden Rule using this to calculate how otyhers would have us treat them, when we are unsure.

    As yto your governments since 1974, it seems to me that wealth in the UK throughout this time became less evenly distributed, and not merely during official Conservative rule either. Some of the actions of Labour regimes also facilitated this.

    Enough said.


  63. Not only is this continued ideological sniping tiresome, and counterproductive, it makes all of you engaged in it look like narrow-minded, doctrinaire jackasses. Individuals who’s opinions are so tainted by personal biases, that they are not worth paying attention to at all – on any subject.

    Just so you know.


  64. quokka,

    This is a new work by Jacobson to be published in a reputable journal and needs be properly peer reviewed and retrashed.

    Once again.

    Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part I: Technologies, Energy Resources, Quantities and Areas of Infrastructure, and Materials

    Click to access WWSEnergyPolicyPtI.pdf

    Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part II: Reliability, System and Transmission Costs, and Policies

    Click to access WWSEnergyPolicyPtII.pdf

    Analysis spreadsheet


  65. Fran:

    You concluded your last reply to me with the words “enough said”. I agree – we are drifting into areas that are, essentially, off topic.

    However, I have found the discussion interesting and our different perceptions have been crystallised.

    Your categorical statement, made with no qualification, that “in the end, every human being benefits when we collaborate equitably” just about sums it up. I envy your faith and hope that it is borne out by your future experience.


  66. dv and luke and anyone else:

    could you sort out fact from fiction in following article about navajo and uranium?,0,5351917.story?page=1

    on page 8 of the story, radioemissions in a particularly dangerous (according to the article) structure is 1000 microroentgens per hour, which the article claims is 75-100 times EPA regs.

    Now, according to what I read, 1000 microroentgens/hr is the equivalent of 400 microrems/hr


    If you multiply this by 8760, you get 3500 millirem. cut this number in half since people don’t spend all day in houses.

    but 1700 millirem gives you about the average of portions of washington state and there is no evidence of excess cancer there.

    anyway, since the article doesn’t sort out causes (chemical from radiological etc), but blames all the cancers on uranium, it’s a frustrating article to read.

    it seems to me imperative to respond to this sort of article because it will be convincing to many people:

    it sounds scientific and it battens upon a record of racism against the navajo, so well meaning folks will be well disposed towards the article.

    and the role that these articles play in demonizing np is obvious.

    btw, the cancer rate of the navajo is lower than national average, but the claim is that whatever cancer there is among the navajo in these mining regions is due to the mines.

    what do you all think?


  67. DV*

    With the arguable exception of Spangled, where I took a swing at him misrepresenting Phil Jones in a new iteration of a very cliched piece of denier verballing, I haven’t sniped here at anyone.

    Douglas sems to me a worthy and intelligent fellow, despite our politico-cultural differences, and I’ve enjoyed the exchange at least as much as he says he has.

    Perhaps you are referring mainly to Peter’s persistent à propos de rien style outbursts?


  68. Fran – I named no names, but if the shoe fits….

    greg meyerson – Newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times, are not known for the quality of their epidemiological research under the best conditions, so I would caution anyone from giving such sources too much weight.

    As for the health of people in these communities, it has suffered since the middle of last century from a number of agents, including access to the accouterments, and diet of post war America, and acquiring the habits that are responsible for similar health issues in the general population, on several fronts. Unless this effect is controlled for, any concussions over the contribution of radiation is speculative at best.



  69. I support most of what’s said on this blog and wish it well but gallopingcamel made a point about the “statistical significance” of the warming [?] that has occurred during the total period of civilization of this planet.
    My comment was relevant to that from a short term perspective and as a summary of the past year’s events.
    Phil Jones’ statement is very significant and he certainly understands what he said and it is to his credit that he said it.


  70. Tomas Frank
    The Wrecking Crew: how conservatives ruined government, enriched themselves, and beggared the nation
    Holt Paerbacks/Henry Holt LLC, 2009.

    Not acctually conservatives, but the wrecking crew has also been wrecking the mother tongue.


  71. greg meyerson,
    “Radiation Workers” in North Carolina are limited to an annual dose of 5 Rem. That works out at an average of 570 micro-Rem/hour.

    The 5 Rem limit is associated with increased risk of radiation induced diseases if one uses the “linear” model. As has been discussed before on this blog, the real risk may be much lower than the linear model would suggest. One can even make the argument that radiation at this level has beneficial effects (Radiation hormesis).

    Unfortunately, nailing down the true risk to humans from long term radiation exposure involves major ethical problems so much of our information is derived from nuclear accidents.

    Here is a link to a discussion of the Linear model:
    Please note the mention of a major accident in Taiwan that affected over 10,000 people.


  72. greg meyerson,
    I just noticed that the LA Times mentions 1000 micro-Roentgens per hour. In the radiation safety field we use REM (Roentgen Equivalent in Man) or Sieverts which involve conversion factors according to what type of radiation is involved. For example, alpha particles have high weightings because they do more damage to human tissue than gamma ray photons with the same energy.


  73. I for one appreciate Peters robust defense of economic liberalism. We put up trade barriers all too readily. Whether it is to depose regimes like that of Saddam Hussein and apartheid in South Africa or because we are worried about safety and labour standards. We should keep out borders open to trade and our domestic trade barriers (ie taxes and regulations) low.

    The GFC was not a product of too few financial regulations. Even if new regulations are the answer it does not follow that the new regulations should be in addition to the old regulations which supposedly failed. They might be instead of. Although when it comes to monetary policy I am of the view that we should have a full scale government withdrawal from the business of creating money. Long topic however so let’s not go there.

    In terms of the life boat example offered by Douglas the assumption seems to be that markets are best when things are plentiful and rationing and planning best when things are scarce. I think this is wrong. Scarcity is precisely the problem that markets are good at managing. What is unique about the dynamics of a life boat is that the number of actors is small and well know to each other. This is not a good basis for modeling the organising principles for a society of millions of people (or even hundreds or thousands).

    In terms of democracy and wealth. Most of the evidence suggests that wealth typically leads to democracy but the reverse relationship does not necessarily follow. In the extreme unconstrained democracy destroys wealth and welfare. Whilst it is good to have a broad spread of political rights and open contests for the offices of government it is also good to limit the power of governments irrespective of how they are formed. In practice this needs to be done with rules and institutional constraints such as a well considered constitution and courts that will defend it.


  74. “From 1984 through 1995, the Department of Energy spent $240 million to cover tailing piles at the old uranium mills as part of a nationwide program. Tailings are the fine sand left over when ore is ground up to extract uranium. They retain most of the radioactivity and give off large quantities of radon, an odorless, cancer-causing gas.
    Some of the radioactivity in the orebody, that contribution from the uranium itself, is removed from the orebody, since the uranium is being extracted. The remaining radioactivity due to the naturally occuring uranium daughter nuclides is simply left alone where it was originally.

    You can see why the notion of “radioactive waste” associated with a uranium mine is a bit of a mendacious one. You simply take what you want — the uranium — out of the deposit, and anything that you don’t want can simply be put back in the ground, where it naturally exists.
    But the tailings cleanup, though important, was limited to the mills. It did nothing to ease the hazards posed by the abandoned mines.

    Over the last decade, the tribe has used money from a federal mine-reclamation fund to seal entrances and fill pits at most of the old mines. But the cleanup was incomplete. At many of the sites, radioactive rubble lies along cliffs and on hillsides.”

    Some of the radioactivity in the orebody, that contribution from the uranium itself, is removed from the orebody, since the uranium is being extracted. The remaining radioactivity due to the naturally occuring uranium daughter nuclides is simply left alone where it was originally.

    The uranium – and its daughter products – are a natural part of the rock which is already there, naturally occurring in the ground.

    Uranium mining doesn’t create uranium in the ground, and it doesn’t create radium or radon or other daughter products – that’s all already there, in nature.

    You can see why the notion of “radioactive waste” associated with a uranium mine is a bit of a mendacious one. You simply take what you want — the uranium — out of the deposit, and anything that you don’t want can simply be put back in the ground, where it naturally exists.


  75. The amusing corollary, Ms Perps is that if there had been, despite the short 15 year survey period, statistically significant warming, a statistically significant signal (i.e one strong enough to stand out against the background noise of the solar cycle) the signal would have been very serious for the longterm trend. As it was, there was such a signal at 16 years.

    So what Spangled thinks is “interesting” is that Jones says that we have a really strong warming signal in just one more than 15 years.

    Why 15 years was chosen is itself telling.


  76. This year I’d urge BNC contributors to focus on:

    1. continuing to provide good factual information to the public, media and politicians about the least cost ways to reduce GHG emissions;

    2. suggesting economically rational ways to reduce emissions;

    3. supporting the factions in Labor Party that want to change Labor’s anti-nuclear policy;

    4. helping to show up the unintended consequences of the anti-nuclear policies of the Greens, the environmental NGOs and those in Labor who are anti-nuclear;

    5. avoiding any more bad policies* – an example of another bad policy would be implementation of a carbon price in Australia until we have removed the impediments to low-cost nuclear and until the major emitting nations have agreed a workable, international mechanism for pricing emissions (see here for comments arguing against a carbon price, at this time: )

    * We need to try to help the government to avoid any more really bad policies such as:
    • winding back 20 years of progress on Industrial Relations reforms;
    • $50 billion committed to nationalising Australia’s communications networks with a government owned monopoly that will lock us into an inflexible communications system, with competition blocked, for several decades ahead;
    • $10 billion committed, in just the last three years, to renewable energy and (government selected) energy efficiency schemes;
    • A myriad of winner-picking regulatory imposts such as renewable energy targets, renewable energy certificates, feed in tariffs, direct subsidies and much more;
    • Pink Bats insulation program debacle ($2.5 billion and counting);
    • Building Education Revolution debacle ($16 billion);
    • Mining tax debacle – which has caused a ramping up of sovereign risk for investors; meaning much higher cost for nuclear power unless we can find a way to remove that sovereign risk;
    • Many other decisions that together have raised the level of sovereign risk in Australia (including the threat of a carbon price and insufficient compensation for investors who invested under previous laws and regulations).

    We need to help to avoid these sorts of bad policies. The carbon price would be another bad policy, in my opinion (as discussed on this thread:


  77. Peter Lang

    I’ll give you points for trying it on.

    Much of what you say is supportable but we really need to keep top what is core to this site.

    Excursions into IR reform, the sharing of mining profits. insulation and the stimulus program, NBN more generally etc are (let us be polite) unhelpful.

    FTR, neither the home insulation program nor the BER qualify as “a debacle” — adequate program goals were realised and on the whole, these represented reasonable value if assessed as stimulus. As a teacher, I know something of BER and let me assure you, even in NSW, it was money well-spent.

    Not that this is on topic for this site …



  78. Fran,

    What is really ‘unhelpful’ is your continual stream of irrational dogma – dogma that only a small proportion of the population is prepared to buy into, although admittedly many on BNC lap it up. But how is that helpful if we want to make progress with the electorate? No matter how many times you repeat your mantra, most people won’t buy into it.


  79. Fran,

    Because you have zero understanding of ‘what makes the world go around’, you don’t ‘get’ most of what is relevant (i.e. on topic). It might be better to just button your lip, read and learn. Hopefully, you might be able to give your students a better, more rounded education instead of simplistic, idealistic nonsense. (please correct the grammar and spelling !!)


  80. For 40 years Labor has opposed nuclear power. We are on the cusp of that policy being changed. It is most unhelpful to “guild the lily”, or try to ignore the critical factors, forces and politics that will affect what happens this year. Here is an article that is well and truly on topic.

    To measure how much clout the Australian Greens command in the minority federal Labor government, look no further than Julia Gillard’s backflip on a carbon price.

    On the eve of the election the Prime Minister emphatically ruled out pricing carbon, yet now she has made it one of her key policy targets for next year.

    With the Greens keeping Labor in power, the political landscape has changed dramatically and voters can do nothing about it at present.

    Read here for some insight into what this means and the consequences:


  81. Pingback: No (statistical) warming since 1995? Wrong « BraveNewClimate

  82. DV82XL:

    Because of time zone differences, several posts have gone under the bridge since your intemperate attack on the discussions between Fran and myself . Fran has subsequently responded and I entirely concur with what she wrote. Nevertheless, after some reflection, I also decided to respond to your statement – which I quote:

    “Not only is this continued ideological sniping tiresome, it makes all of you engaged in it look like narrowminded, doctrinaire jackasses, individuals who’s opinions are so tainted by personal biases, that they are not worth paying attention to at all – on any subject.”

    For one who not infrequently criticises others for abusive language and ad hominem attacks, you may, perhaps, like to reflect upon the thickness of ice upon which you are standing. It is totally resonable that you should find our discussion tiresome. However, it was taking place on an open thread in a polite manner after we had reached agreement that left/right ideological differences in no way divided us in jointly seeing a nuclear renaissance as the means of optimising global welfare. In fact, from my perspective, I was using the debate as a means of exploring ways of persuading the undecided that a nuclear renaissance was necessary.

    You have several times in the past asserted that a top down approach to nuclear implementation would fail and that only one from the bottom up would work. I don’t necessarily agree (consider France, India, China) but chose to ignore rather than dispute your views because I applaud your ongoing attempts at public education in matters nuclear. However, to succeed in your self-appointed mission, you would do well to understand that opinions of the public tend to be shaped by personal biases and I have little doubt that you are as privy to them as the next man. You are a product of your genotype and previous life experiences, mainly early life experiences (though, possibly, a recent hangover may have been responsible for your latest outburst).

    It should not be difficult for trained scientists to agree on matters of fact, but most people have no scientific training to fall back on. Even if they have, they may well have no time or inclination to study the relevant issue in sufficient depth. Thus, they may often use the same short hand approach to fact assessment, as do laymen, based upon past life experiences and prejudices. Going on from the stage of accepting a given set of facts, there continues to be great scope for differences in responses to dealing with the said facts, differences, again, that are mainly due to past life experiences and prejudices.

    Is it entirely unreasonable of me to think that, in failing to acknowledge the relevance of personal biases in your mission of public education, you are probably missing a trick?

    Upthread, I suggested that left/right opinions were less important differentiators of peoples’ opinions on the appropriateness of future action on energy than differing assessments or perceptions of the magnitude and acuity of the risks posed by global warming, population growth and peak oil.

    I would say that I have reluctantly moved into the very alarmed camp. I would say that this is because, having retired, I have had the time to study these matters in depth (perhaps, however, it’s merely because I have an over-large amygdala!) I am also aware that the human brain, like animal brains, is excellent at responding to acute threats, but very poor at appreciating or responding to threats that are likely to occur in the longer term – more reason for me and my amygdala to worry!

    Sorry to have been so tiresome.


  83. Douglas Wise – First, ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise. The ad hominem is a classic fallacy of rhetoric, but it is not always fallacious. For in some instances questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue. However I am not making a fallacious argument here, but an observation, an opinion, and these fall outside the rules of formal rhetoric, and stand on their own. Because it is an opinion, you are of course, welcome to ignore it.

    Bluntly however, it is clear that none of the protagonists in this left/right debate has any hope of convincing the other to change stripes, so it appears that this is more about using this exchange as a soapbox rather than any attempt to explore common ground. I find this tiresome and nonproductive, and in my opinion, does not showcase your individual arguments for a nuclear renaissance in any effective way.

    I am not taking sides in this matter because I chose to try and deal with every issue on its merits, and not shoehorn it into some ideology.

    As for my contention that a bottom-up approach is necessary for nuclear energy, a clarification would appear to be required.

    Because this is an Anglophone forum, I have assumed that most of what is written about the broad political issues attached to nuclear energy, naturally refer to conditions inside the Anglosphere, unless explicitly stated otherwise. The dynamics of this issue in nations like France, and India, and a few other countries are shaped by the fact that there is little choice. Domestic supplies of coal, gas and petroleum, are small to non-existent in these places and this both focuses the issue, and means that the influence of Big Carbon in the lobbies of power is attenuated.

    In the case of most English-speaking countries, there are large resources, of at the very least, coal and this will mean that government is vulnerable to influence by fossil-fuel interests, who are more powerful in that regard than supporters of the pronuclear side. Thus a bottom-up approach would seem to be indicated in these nations.

    China, and other essentially authoritarian regimes, function as top-down polities at all levels, making them irrelevant to this aspect of the discussion.

    As for my personal biases, I have never claimed to be without them. This is not Wikipedia, we are not constrained to paying lip-service to a neutral point of view and I certainly don’t assert one. However I do not attempt to use concern for the environment, and the future of energy as a lever to assert a broad political ideology, and while what is occurring here between some commenters at BNC is not as militant as some other examples I can think of, there is a certain undercurrent of it and it is time that the principals take note that others do indeed find this tiresome.


  84. Thanks to Ms. Perps for the Cook link.

    For those who posted the Jones comment out of context, is there anything for you to learn here?

    heck: you might have just stayed with the standard denialist claim of no warming since 1998 (makes your case look even better). but then you could not opportunistically cite Jones.

    Luke: did you say what you wanted in your post?

    It confused me a bit due to quoting format.


  85. Ms Peps,
    You imply that I deny the existence of “Global Warming”.

    To the contrary, I found a warming trend of 2.3 degrees Centigrade for the period 1850 to 2000 compared to the IPCC’s AR4 estimate of 0.8 degrees.

    I was analyzing unadjusted temperature data
    for Greenland where one expects warming trends to be magnified owing to the high latitude. I posted a link earlier, so here it is again:

    Part 1 of the above post explains where my data came from.

    If some of you folks would take the trouble to read my posts rather than putting words into my mouth we could avoid such misunderstandings.

    I just noticed that Barry put up a new thread that is relevant to this discussion so I hope to see you there.


  86. DV82XL:

    Thank you for your response (3rd Jan, 1.15). Unfortunately, a couple of your statements suggest to me that you have got the wrong end of the stick – possibly because I have been expressing myself badly. The essential point that I have been attempting to make is that there is, IMO, a global state of emergency which transcends (or should transcend) any traditional left/right differences.

    However, you were characterising the debate I was having with Fran as a stereotypic left/right soap opera. It wasn’t. Those have occurred previously on BNC, mainly instigated by one persistent poster to whom Fran has already referred, and, like you, I find them unhelpful.

    You appear to accuse me of using “concern for the environment and the future of energy as a lever to assert a broad political ideology.” I would suggest that this is the opposite of what I have been attempting (thus my nuclear showcasing experiments are obviously not being well communicated!) In fact, I would say that my environmental concerns have become so acute that I am beginning to think that solutions demand a temporary abandonment of my previous political inclinations.

    I believe that the planet faces a crisis which will take a long time to solve, but which, nevertheless, demands an urgent/acute response. Now, you may not share this view and you may be more sanguine about future prospects. I cannot entirely rule out the possibility that my pessimism is not exacerbated by my suffering from a “grumpy old man syndrome” although I believe it to be science-based.

    Nevertheless, I believe that my nation, along with most others, faces a state of emergency. The primary duty of political leaders in such situations is to act to protect its citizens. Our chief scientist (UK) has suggested that the greatest threat to our security is anthropogenic climate change. Our leaders, though paying lip service to the problem, list several other issues (e.g. terrorism) as greater threats in the short term. What they apparently fail to share with me and others of similar ilke is that the climate threat, though in one sense chronic, demands an acute response for its solution. It is for this reason – and only for this reason – that I am supportive of a war-footing type response (it has absolutely nothing to do with left/right ideology). I totally appreciate that, for any climate solution to work, most developed nations will have to cooperate and act in concord. I would also suggest that, if any should fail to take appropriate measures, it would not be unreasonable to debate the pros and cons of taking some form of sanctions against them.

    I suspect that you are typical of many who see the problem, but not yet the necessity for an emergency response to the solution we both agree on – thus my views will come over to you as dictatorial. I think that raising awareness of concerns over energy security and imminent peak oil may evoke more acute responses among politicians than climate change itself. I am less cynical than you over the power of fossil fuel lobbyists and believe that public opinion can be brought to bear to counter their effects. What worries me a great deal more is the inability of most politicians and economists to acknowledge the link between wealth generation and the availability of cheap and abundant energy. They are all screaming for growth while tending to ignore that which is necessary for its achievement. It occurs to me that, if one could work towards establishing this link in their minds, one one might hope for more rapid progress.

    In many repects, I applaud Peter Lang’s approach of bashing out nuclear power as quickly and cheaply as possible and not bothering with carbon levies. However, IMO, this requires government leadership (imposing a solution) rather than awaiting the results of focus group surveys to suggest the most popular and hence vote winning solution. I accept that it would take a very determined and persuasive leader to act pre-emptively in a democracy whose citizens are ignorant of the imminence of the threats faced. I also accept that the only attempts at policy impositions that have been attempted to date have been misdirected towards renewables.

    You have intimated that my “show-casing nuclear” efforts are counter-productive. Imagine yourself in my position – sharing my sense of urgency and my relative ignorance of the minutiae of nuclear technology. What would you recommend that I should be doing to promote the nuclear case more effectively? You might, of course, recommend me to shut up and leave it to those with more knowledge and political savvy! In my opinion, there are two options (if I were to dismiss the giving-up strategy). The first is to attempt to engender more alarm in others over the consequences of not taking action now. The second is to try the economic approach as advocated by Peter Lang. Both may have a part to play and could be deployed to audiences of different backgrounds/sensibilities. There may be others which you could suggest.

    I come to BNC to learn and attempt to formulate plans to push for a nuclear solution elsewhere on the basis of lessons learnt. I learn by flying kites and playing devil’s advocate. You have been at this longer than I. Can you explain what you do in this area to influence public opinion and what you consider to have been your successes and failures. Obviously, I have no means of knowing as I have only come across your writings on blogs which are largely read by the like-minded. I am sure you would agree that preaching to the converted is enjoyable, but not necessarily constructive when most are yet to be converted.


  87. I will address this first:

    You have been at this longer than I. Can you explain what you do in this area to influence public opinion and what you consider to have been your successes and failures. Obviously, I have no means of knowing as I have only come across your writings on blogs which are largely read by the like-minded. I am sure you would agree that preaching to the converted is enjoyable, but not necessarily constructive when most are yet to be converted.

    Last year in Québec, we faced antinuclear efforts on two fronts: opposition to uranium exploration in the Provence, and opposition to the refurbishment of Gentilly-2 the CANDU 6 reactor owned and operated by Hydro-Québec.

    I, along with others in the local pronuclear community, girded our loins for a fight, however despite several protests including a fake mining camp in front of the Québec National Assembly, and of 14,000 signatures on petitions, the government of the day concluded that a moratorium on uranium is unjustified. As well, the refurbishment of Gentilly-2 while delayed a year due to work being done on the reactors at Point Lepreau, New Brunswick and at Wolsung, South Korea, has not been stopped.

    I wish I could take some credit for this, but frankly the fight we were expecting simply did not materialize. Primarily because the opposition in this case failed to rally public opinion to their side.

    In one case a petition launched by “Les Artistes pour la Paix” (Artists for Peace) and signed by 4300 people demanding that Québec retract completely from nuclear energy, was presented to the National Assembly by Amir Khadir, (MLA Mercier.) The idiots then chose to throw confetti from the visitor’s gallery on the sitting Assembly while deputy Khadir was presenting their petition for vote. Naturally they were ejected, and Khadir, embarrassed, had to apologize to the Speaker, and washed his hands of the group.

    With opposition of this caliber, it is almost not worth getting up in the morning.


    Far from not seeing the necessity for an emergency response to the issues, I have gone past the panic stage years ago, and I now look for practical ways of moving forward. I also (suffer?) from having spent ten years in local politics, and while I don’t consider myself an expert in political science, I do know first hand that the machinery of government at all levels is very slow and changes direction only with a great deal of effort. Most surprisingly, the group nominally in power, while projecting a aura of proactive leadership, is almost as unable to make substantive change to that direction as those outside.

    This is because it doesn’t matter what you do in government, you are going to make enemies, that can do you damage. The trick is to pick a path that pisses-off as few as possible, and that is basically what we see in most Western governments.

    With very few exceptions, almost everyone I had dealings with in those years knew the score. These were not stupid people. Their ethical stands were questionable, in many cases, but to assume that the type of individual that has made it to a cabinet-level position in major country’s national government doesn’t have a good idea of how wealth generation works, or does not recognize the need for abundant energy is to be overly credulous.

    The one thing that can prompt them into action is the fear of losing their seats. This ether comes from pressure exerted by lobbyists, that control the purse-strings, or a massed electorate, that controls the vote.

    Again, in the case of nuclear energy/AGW the lobbyists for fossil-fuel interests control more money that we do, thus we have no other choice that to work the other source of influence. It is just that simple. Certainly the antinuclear movements have had considerable success in this regard in the past, which is why the public in general has a low opinion of the nuclear option. To believe that one can take an end-run around this by convincing the politicians in power to pass legislation in the face of low public opinion, because it is ‘the right thing to do,’ is frankly naïve. Unfortunately that goes for any plan to have the regulators relax the rules as well.

    Personally I am somewhat crippled in that I live in a place with an abundance of cheap hydro, and a weak antinuclear movement. The government here wants to keep its hand in on nuclear technology, and the population is indifferent. In fact we are considering a move to Ottawa in the next two years which will put me in Ontario, where most of the nuclear action is, and in the Capital where some of the pronuclear activity in Canada is centered. While this would not be the only reason to move, it certainly made me more enthusiastic about the idea.


  88. Douglas Wise,

    you have made your usual biased and unbalanced attack:

    you were characterising the debate I was having with Fran as a stereotypic left/right soap opera. It wasn’t. Those have occurred previously on BNC, mainly instigated by one persistent poster to whom Fran has already referred, and, like you, I find them unhelpful.

    You display your bias. You seem to conveniently ignore that the ideological posts were innitiated by and continued, without let-up, by those on the ideological Left such as: Fran Barlow, Ewen Laver, Tom Keen, quokka, yourself, podgarus, Ms Perps, greg meyerson, many others. Why do you never attack them? This shows your bias.

    I for one are am far from convinced that global warming is catastrophic or dangerous. However, it is very clear to me what are the adverse consequences of bad economic policy. Many people are of the same mind. So you need to get over this hurdle if you want to convince people to go on a war footing. Convincing people to do this is so far from being realisticlly achievable it is not even worth discussing, IMO. It is simply delaying practical, achievable progress. It is a diversion from trying to promote practical, achievable solutions.

    The point is that we can make real progress that achieves what you want and also achieves the aims of economically rational people. But it requires the ideological Left to let go of some of their seriously irrational ideological policies – policies that seems to be actually more important to them than cutting emissions. Comments up thread by Fran and Ms Perps are classic example of their ideologically based policies being more important to them than practical achievable solutions. So are numerous comments by Tom Keen, podgarus and others. So are many of yours.

    We could have good economic reform that cuts business costs, lowers the cost of electricity, improves economic growth and provides the benefits to the world that economic growth provides. We do not have a shortage of energy in the forseable future, so please stop bleating on about that. What we have is a block against the development of economically viable energy sources. We need to remove the block.

    In many repects, I applaud Peter Lang’s approach of bashing out nuclear power as quickly and cheaply as possible and not bothering with carbon levies. However, IMO, this requires government leadership (imposing a solution) …

    Why do you consider a government imposed a carbon price is not “government imposing a solution” but government removing the government imposed impediments to low-cost nuclear is “government imposing a solution”? Please don’t avoid answering this question.


  89. Link is broken, so I’m quoting instead.

    Wind’s competitive edge (EnergyBoom):
    Mark Z. Jacobson, a Stanford University professor and the Director of the University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, co-authored in 2001 a Science Magazine article entitled, “Exploiting Wind Versus Coal.” Jacobson reported then that when the health and environmental costs of coal-based energy are calculated, “the total price for coal-based energy…” ranges from “…$0.055 to $0.083 cents[sic] per kilowatt-hour (kWh).” Interesting, since the U.S. Department of Energy reports that as of 2008, top performing wind farms in areas with excellent wind resources had costs averaging only $0.059 cents[sic] per kWh, a price clearly competitive with, if not far less than, the costs of coal.

    And the LCOE for a new NPP is quoted in an earlier comment in this open thread to be US$0.0645/kWh, already competitive with both wind and coal (once the externalities for coal are properly priced in as above).


  90. The solar thermal now under construction in the Mojave desert has a contracted LCOE of US$0.137/kWh. It will not only load follow, but also act as a ‘balancing agent’. I suppose that means treating the vagaries of Tehachapi Pass wind turbines and other peak shaving.


  91. Peter Lang,

    Please kindly point out a comment of mine on BNC that is “ideologically driven”, and state what my ideology is (and it isn’t love of Labor or Greens).

    Your hyprocritical labelling of other commenters here is tiresome. Conservative economics may be your point of worship, Peter, but that doesn’t make people who disagree with you ideologues.


  92. Tom Keen,

    I can’t be bothered searching back through your frequent pro Labor, anti-conservative, Howard hter type comments. You know where you stand and so do I. If you and the others would stop the incessant stream of them, there would be no addmittedly muted, delayed response from me in an attempt to bring some balance the discussion – a discussion by contributors of whom about 90% to 95% have made it clear from their posts that they are Green-Labor aligned. That is what you and the others of similar persuasion should be trying to stop, not the balancing arguments that I provide (aftert a long period of simply ignoring the continual stream of irrational dogma.


  93. Peter, if you actually did bother to search through my comments, you would find not a single post supporting Labor, nothing that is explicitly anti-conservative and nothing that mentions Howard. I am completely disinterested in political parties. And you have not a shred of evidence to support your contention that 90+% of commenters here are Green or Labor supporters.

    And for the record, I do see conservatism as every bit as much an ideology as leftism or whatever other terms you like to throw around.


  94. Tom Keen,

    I am interested to know why you (and almost everyone) are avoiding the discussion about the economically rational way to reduce emissions, as opposed to applying a carbon tax?
    If CAGW is the greatest threat to humanity ever, as most of you believe, and if you want to cut emissions, why do you choose to avoid debating ways that could achieve your objective and win over the doubters as well? All we have to do is allow low emissions electricity to be cheaper than coal, and the road to lower emissions will have little opposition from the public (it will still be opposed by business special interest groups). Why the opposition to an economically rational approach? Why avoid the debate?


  95. The amusing thing about Peter’s persistent complaint Tom is that like many sharing his predisposition, he projects onto those he sees as “leftists” behaviour that fits his posting pattern rather better.

    Unlike me, Peter admits that he sets little store by the claims of mainstream science on radiative forcing. Yet he is happy to use this to push for a political coalition around pro-business policies warranted on neo-Rostovian grounds. That fits bait and switch far better than anything proposed by left-greens.

    This is not lost on the folks who want to act on climate change and are somewhat fearful (unreasonably in my opinion) that nuclear power is some sort of stalking horse big business.


  96. DV82XL:

    Again, thanks for your reply. The conclusions you draw from your experiences in this area, far greater than mine, are instructive.

    I totally accept that democratic politicians are faced with great difficulty in making or imposing rapid change and that their optimum strategy is typically to “pick a path that pisses-off as few people as possible”. As a matter of fact, I, possibly naively, hoped that the last UK electoral result might lead to a conservative/labour coalition, given that both parties were fully supportive of rapid deployment of civil nuclear power . Instead, we have a conservative/liberal coalition. The Energy Minister chosen (liberal) was noted for his strongly anti-nuclear stance. However, there have been recent encouraging signs that he has undergone something of a conversion. I suspect that this may have been due to the efforts of our Department of Energy and Climate Change, scientifically led by David McKay, and it Energy Pathways Analysis Report. Anyway, regardless of the reason, it now appears that all political parties in the UK are fully supportive of nuclear power (though they continue to express enthusism for wind). In theory, it should become possible to de-politicise the issue and push forward rapidly with nuclear deployment while ignoring residual anti-nuclear sentiment in the electorate. This might help the Green (there’s only one Green MP in the UK!), but none of the consenting adult parties would necessarily be harmed if they could be persuaded to act in concert.

    Obviously, political configurations and nuclear positions vary from country to country. However, it leads me to think that a top down approach might well work in the UK and be a quicker route to nuclear roll out than a bottom up one. Nevertheless, you are probably correct to think that it couldn’t in nations such as Australia.

    There is one other area where I suspect we might differ. I am far from convinced that I am being unduly credulous in thinking that senior politicians and economists very often fail to see the link between wealth and net energy availability. For this reason, I am attempting to test my hypothesis by interrogating as many relevant opinion formers as possible (presently, prominent economic journalists), but evoking any responses is slow going as I don’t know any personally and am having to network. I have had a reply from one and he candidly admitted he was not knowledgeable about energy and had no confidence in writing about it. He did accept that this was an omission which he would shortly attempt to rectify through receipt of “high level briefings”. What has become clear is that many of my friends whom I would have regarded as economically astute (they aren’t all!) most certainly fail to see the link between wealth and energy.


  97. Peter Lang:

    Here we go again. You demanded a response so you’ll get one. But PLEASE try to read what others have to say and don’t assume that you already know.

    You appear to ASSUME that anyone convinced that global warming may be catastrophic or dangerous must be of left wing persuasion and, further, that their views on the matter are predicated upon their desire to impose their left wing ideology on others. I suspect that you have no idea how irritating your assumptions become, having been repeated ad nauseam. Are you capable of imagining for one moment that others who are, indeed, alarmed by climate might have a point of view which is as valid as yours and that it is not political persuasion, but scientific evidence that has led them to their viewpoints? You may care to look up the medical terms used to describe those incapable of seeing points of view other than their own.

    You also state that “we do not have as shortage of energy in the immediate future”. You do not now have and will not have a shortage in Australia in the immediate future. We, in Europe, do not have a shortage now, but may well have in the immediate future unless we get on with nuclear roll-out.

    I am happy to accept that you may represent majority opinion in believing that climate change will not be catastrophic. Thus, it does make sense for alarmists to seek their “clean energy transition ends” by adopting policies that won’t upset this majority. Your approach, therefore, has merit if it could be achieved and I have given it a great deal of thought and certainly haven’t dismissed it as a possible way forward. You must accept, however, that establishment figures in liberal democracies tend to favour carbon levies or taxes as alternative means of achieving the transition to clean energy. There are thus several routes by which alarmists might achieve their objectives. I tend to think that yours is the optimum, given the above qualification. This is why I have been so exasperated by your attempts to promote it and why, in the past, I suggested that, with friends like you, who needs enemies. Your approach appears to have been aimed at giving the IMPRESSION that you wish to make nuclear power more dangerous and to insult any who have the temerity to challenge you.

    Typically, in your final paragraph, you assume that, when referring to government imposed solutions, I was referring to a carbon tax. Had you read what I actually wrote rather than jumped to a conclusion, it should have been quite clear that I wasn’t. Admittedly, I didn’t spell out exactly what I was advocating. I am still trying to crystallise my thinking on this subject. However, I think it would almost certainly involve direct government involvement in civil nuclear power generation (with or without some private sector involvement). My “war footing approach” (ideal, from my alarmist standpoint) would be modelled on wartime aircraft production where government directed private companies to produce the needed products. However, to hope to achieve this is probably wishful thinking at this stage, given the general lack of acute alarm in the community at large. I will list below some of what I would like to see the UK government do to expedite nuclear. You might even agree with some of the list and I won’t pretend that you have had no influence on my thinking:

    1) A clear government plan to build 120GW plus of nuclear power within 40 years and 30GW in 10 years.
    2) Abort plans to close coal plants prematurely on the basis of new EU emissions control regulations, but to announce that all will close at originally planned end of life and no new coal plants will be licensed unless they have working CCS in place.
    3) Abort EU obligations to produce a fixed percentage of renewable power unless nuclear is deemed to be renewable.
    4) Streamlining planning consents for nuclear (Labour intended to reduce the typical delay from 8 to 1 year. The current government initially dithered but is moving in that direction).
    5) Requirement that wind farms be financially responsible for their own grid connection costs and back up needs in order to qualify for any subsidy. Alternatively, removal of subsidy altogether.
    6) Guaranteed market price for nuclear power (government proposing this but may be unnecessary as coal phased out – depends on price of imported gas).
    7) Crash R&D 4th generation programme plus increased production of nuclear specialists. Expansion of regulators to enable consideration in advance of what designers will need to do to satisfy safety of future designs (molten salt or metal fuel, metal cooled. Aim to produce power cheaper than coal ASAP through newer inherently safer plants – also export potential.
    8) Maybe, direct government ownership of 4th generation technology. Maybe direct military oversight, possibly enabling use of HEU or undiluted WGP. If it’s deemed OK for the government to make bombs with this material, why should it be wrong to use it for civilian power under state (military) control? Assumption that regulators would give state owned militarily-run plants an easier (cheaper) ride? Similarly, all reprocessing, storage and transport to be under military control – public and regulator reassurance.
    9) Tax incentives for pension funds invested long term in nuclear.

    It will be clear that this is an unformulated list and probably some suggestions trample over international treaties which would have to be re-negotiated if implementation were to be possible. The suggestion that 4th generation plants (the best hope for cheaper power) should remain under government control, but not necessarily others, is not as illogical as might be supposed, given that they, uniquely, all involve reprocessing and, as such, give rise to proliferation concerns, regardless of how justified these are.


  98. Natural Gas Combined-Cycle Plants With and Without Carbon Capture & Sequestration…/B_NGCC_051507.pdf

    w/o : 68.4 mills/kWh
    with: 97.4 mills/kWh

    The study was done in 2007 and assumed US$6.75 as the natgas price per trading unit. The price is somewhat lower now.

    Nonetheless, even without the CCS this price for a F-class CCGT is almost the same, slightly higher, than the LCOE estimate for new NPPs (in an earlier post). Just as the professionally done pricing study for NPCC, there is little difference in the LCOE for natgas, wind and NPPs but solar thermal is quite a bit more expensive at this time.


  99. Over the next week, I’ll be going back through the BNC website and writing some new index pages to better organise archived material. I’l do alert comments when things are updated, but if people have suggestions as to how they think things should be arranged for ease of access, please do let me know!


  100. Here’s an interesting link:,0,6481221.story

    Scientist proves conservatism and belief in climate change aren’t incompatible

    MIT professor Kerry Emanuel is among a rare breed of conservative scientists who are sounding the alarm for climate change and criticizing Republicans’ ‘agenda of denial’ and ‘anti-science stance.’


    Emanuel dislikes applying the word “skeptic” to those who deny climate change. He says all scientists are skeptical; that’s the nature of the field. His own innate skepticism meant that it took him longer than his colleagues to be persuaded of climate change, Emanuel said.

    He remembers thinking it ridiculous when a noted climatologist told Congress in 1988 that he was all but certain that the climate was changing. Yet, as analyses of climate data advanced through the 1990s and Emanuel found a relationship between hurricanes and climate change in his own work, he came to see a link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.


    Emanuel waded into the fray early last year. He wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal criticizing a friend and colleague for dismissing the evidence of climate change and clinging “to the agenda of denial.” Then Emanuel added his name to the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, a website run by scientists to provide accurate information from top researchers in climate-related fields.

    I’ve always rebelled against the thinking that ideology can trump fact, said Emanuel, 55. The people who call themselves conservative these days aren’t conservative by my definition. I think they’re quite radical.


    I am a rare example of a Republican scientist, but I am seriously thinking about changing affiliation owing to the Republicans’ increasingly anti-science stance, he wrote in an e-mail. The best way to elevate the number of Republican scientists is to get Republican politicians to stop beating up on science and scientists


  101. Barry,

    Here are a few, ‘off the top of my head’ suggestions for improvements to layout of the BNC web site. I’ll give more thought later and post again with any more thoughts.

    1. Remove whatever it is that is slowing down the rate that the BNC pages refresh. It is frustrating that it refreshes so slowly. I think it is loading pictures.

    2. Is it possible to sort and filter? For example by the person who posted a comment, during say a period of time?

    3. Is there a way to apply key words retrospectively to posts and comments?

    4. Is it possible to add button above the comments field to allow the writer to highlight the section than click on the button to format it? This capability is available on other blog sites, and it makes it much easier. I’d like to bury links under text, for example, but it is too difficult if I have to write a line of Fortran code every time :)

    5. I think the layout of BNC is pretty good now that I am used to it, but it is difficult to find previous material

    6. I think the Home page should be reorganised so there is one short page with everything on it an no one other than you can add to it. Then links take you to other sites.

    7. About should be about you and the purpose of BNC. Also how it and you got to where you are now (you journey is really interesting).

    8. FAQ is good but need a separate tab to bring people up to speed on what is on BNC, a summary, and where to go next to find the answers to questions that many people and people new to BNC may ask.

    9. I haven’t looked at “Plans” tab for a while so not sure what is there

    10. Renewable Limits and Sustainable Nuclear are excellent as they are

    11. Top 10 should automatically show the posts with the highest number of comments, in order (it doesn’t now)

    12. The terms used on the “Sceptics” tab in my opinion is not good. I suggest BNC should move on from this sort of branding. I feel there are entrenched “Alarmists” and entrenched “Sceptics/doubters/Deniers” and they won’t be reconciled any time soon. Castigating and vilifying them will entrench opposition. We need to find solutions that will meet the wants of both ends of the spectrum and all people in between. Therefore, I’d encourage BNC to reach out to bridge the gap (without in anyway suggesting you change your position).


  102. Thanks Peter for that helpful list. In response:

    1. Not sure what is causing this, I’ve not noticed any real problem (or change). A test of my domain host says: “Page Load Time
    Success! BRAVENEWCLIMATE.COM loaded quickly, in just 1.248 seconds.”

    2. Not right now. I’m locked into’s fairly rigid and feature-poor templates. HOWEVER, I’m seriously thinking of taking the dive to, which would allow me to do this, and may other things. The key is time and experience, both of which I lack.

    3. Yes, it would have to be done on a case-by-case basis, however, so would be laborious if applied to many posts. I’ve used categories for broad classification.

    4. No, see answer to 2.

    5. See answer to 2.

    6. I’m toying with the idea of a clean, static front page and a prominent link to the blog feed. I’ll think more about it. Might tie into 2.

    7. I agree that this needs updating.

    8-10: These all tie together. I’m thinking of each PAGE being a clean set of subheading that link to other pages with the past posts being better organised. Sort of like a multi-level Table of Contents, grouped around themes.

    11. See 2 – not even sure if this is possible with, but it probably is.

    12. This page would be renamed and ordered to fit with the Table of Contents idea, yes.


  103. Barry,

    I just troied updating tow threads.

    It took 35 seconds for my screen to refresh on the “Alternative to CPRS” thread and 15 seconds on this thread. The bottom left of the screen shows how many items remaining to be updated.

    I have Transact broadband. This is by far the slowest page update of any site I visit. It has been like this for as long as I can remember.


  104. Not sure a I like the 25 per comments per page format, Barry. Makes it more difficult to flick back through older comments. That may just be because I’m not used to it.

    Further to what Peter is saying, I was having problems loading BNC and some other WordPress sites (not all) a couple of months ago – got ridiculously slow for several weeks, sometimes it would even time out. Then it just got better. No idea why.


  105. Barry,

    It went much faster until “1 item remaining”. The three tests (refresh) took 25s, 60s, 90s. The last two finished when I moved the mouse.

    If I move the mouse once it gets to “1 item remaining” then thhre tests were: 10s, 12s, 10s.

    Then I tried again without moving the mouse and it took 11s.

    I’m baffled. If I don’t move the mouse, it will stay on “1 item remaining” sometimes.


  106. I agree with Tom. I’d rather put up with the slow speed and be able to scroll up through the full length of the thread, no matter how long it is. I get used to knowing roughly where posts are. It becomes prohibitively diffilult on web sites where you have to click back through the pages.

    I withdraw any mention of time for refreshing rahter than go to multi page threads.

    I love the continuous threads on BNC just as they are. I think they are great.


  107. Pingback: BNC as a resource – call for help « BraveNewClimate

  108. David B. Benson- This system seems to be based on, or highly related to, Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) technology. The main problem with MCFC is the slow dissolution of the cathode in the electrolyte at temperatures that are low enough not to damage the ion exchange sites. Most of the research is in the area of more durable materials and cathodes, and this would likely be the case here.

    Demonstrating an idea is only the first step. The path between such a demonstration, and a viable product is long and full of pitfalls.


  109. DV82XL, on 10 January 2011 at 10:27 AM — Thank you for the prompt reply!

    Anothr problem is certainly going to be thermal stress induced early failure from the dialy cycling between quite hot and outdoor night time temperatures.

    I certainly agree with your last sentence!


  110. David Benson, this carbon capture process appears to integrate three elements – production of carbon from CO2 in an electrolytic cell, generation of the required electricity by solar pv, and a solar thermal component to bring the cell up to a 750 C operating temperature.

    It appears to be an attempt to answer the question, how can we sequester atmospheric carbon using solar power? But what we (I) really want to know is, how can we sequester atmospheric carbon? That is, lets not constrain ourselves to shoehorning a sequestration system into the operating space of solar power, and instead just consider the best way to draw down atmospheric carbon.

    Lets assume the electrochemistry described in this report is a viable technique. Then, for reasons that have been well discussed, solar power is a poor choice for providing the required heat and electricity. Coupling the MCFC to nuclear process heat and electricity is obviously a better engineering solution than solar for the same reasons that have been discussed here in the context of electricity generation – the process could run continuously, not be constrained by available power, simplify the thermal engineering, have better materials utilization, and be cheaper ($/tonne carbon captured) and more effective (carbon captured / carbon used to build/operate the system). And you don’t need to worry about early failure from daily thermal cycling.

    The same system is also proposed for production of CO for fuels and feedstock. If it can work with solar, it will work better with a nuclear power source. And its performance and economics can be compared with other nuclear synfuel systems.


  111. John Morgan, on 10 January 2011 at 1:14 PM — Atmospheric capture of CO2 is possible via the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Lackner(?) has a demonstration unit built in a used shipping container. It happens to be powered by solar PV.

    Now what to do with the pure CO2? Storing underground doesn’t seem to be a good plan, so better to convert into elemental carbon and put that underground; artifical carbon seams.

    As how best to provide the energy required to in essense do
    CO2 + energy –> C + O2
    remains to be seen. There are lots of deserts but sunlight might anyway provide simply to be too diffuse and the economics fail to having to go around harvesting the elemental carbon. [This is a main difficulty with burning wood for power; collecting costs are too high unless the wood is collected for other purposes and only the waste is burnt.] So you may well be right that nuclear might provide a better alternative, but then I’d also have to be concerned about the costs of centralizing the pure CO2 from distrbuted air capture units.

    The economics will follow from comparing various means of producing elemental carbon from CO2. Any process which reliably delivers pure carbon for around $200/tonne will find a rather large market for the product. That’ll be the place to start.


  112. David Benson, I’d quite like to explore options for carbon drawdown, and hope Barry might give the topic some attention through the year.

    I’m not optimistic though. The energy required to fix the carbon is greater than the energy we derived from burning it. You could imagine a 500 MW coal power plant piping all its CO2 output directly to a carbon fixing electrolytic process powered by a 1 GW NPP. Thats breakeven on a single coal plant. What would it take to unwind global emissions back a few decades?

    It will be a big enough challenge to replace fossil fuels with clean power for our direct energy consumption. Its hard to imagine expanding power production beyond that on the scale required to directly fix a meaningful quantity of atmospheric carbon.

    I’m also sceptical of processes that rely on advanced materials, like the MOFs, or the MCFCs, because of the scales involved. A meaningful quantity of material would be megatons or more, which means very simple, very cheap and very large scale production processes. I think this excludes deployment of MOFs at scale. (Those MOFs, like a lot of organometallics, don’t appear very stable either. The wikipedia entry notes that they are frequently air sensitive, which is not a surprise for this sort of material.)

    I think the scale involved means we need to look to geology or biology – CO2 capture by basic minerals or the biosphere. I don’t think we can directly power the unwinding of power generation back to the industrial revolution.


  113. I’ve tried burning wood charcoal in oxygen from water electrolysis to create pure CO2. Next step is to add the other product hydrogen under pressure with catalysts, currently beyond my expertise but I’m tinkering away. If the atmosphere is about .04% CO2 and flue gas 13% w/w they are just too dilute as a source of CO2. In the latter case N2, NOx and tars create more problems.

    We want to solve 2 problems
    1) a drawdown of atmospheric CO2
    2) making carbon neutral synfuels.
    Maybe they can’t be solved together at an affordable price. I thought the Argonne Laboratories were working on it but they haven’t reported any breakthroughs. That’s why I keep saying natural gas is our last cheap hydrocarbon resource and we shouldn’t squander it.


  114. John Morgan, on 11 January 2011 at 3:11 PM — Unfortunately, even
    Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming
    is only enough to conteract currect production of excess CO2 (but then the Empty Quarter could presumably also be put to work). Humans currently consume ~60% of NPP, so little additional unirrigated afforestation seems possible.

    I did find an electrolysis (different reaction) where the author was willing to estimate a cost of less than US$100 per ton of CO2 removed. Supposing much the same for producing elemental carbon, that’s about $370 per tonne of elemental carbon; price is too high by a factor of around two.


  115. Those who were hoping Victoria’s new Liberal government would renounce brown coal burning may have to wait a while longer. Premier Baillieu is bringing back cattle to national parks. I agree that it may be as effective and less hazardous than burnoffs. However we may have to rethink the purpose of the parks as in no alien species.

    Note the WA Premier has said that summer air conditioning is unnecessary. Strangely the Queensland Premier is the only incumbent to have publicly suggested nuclear. NSW’s Bob Carr waited until retirement.


  116. Nuclear overnight capital costs in OECD ranged from US$ 1556/kW for APR-1400 in South Korea through $3009 for ABWR in Japan, $3382/kW for Gen III+ in USA, $3860 for EPR at Flamanville in France to $5863/kW for EPR in Switzerland, with world median $4100/kW.

    OECD black coal plants were costed at $807-2719/kW
    but the following table gives
    USA 4.9 7.2-7.5
    for LCOE of nuclear and then coal. The LCOE for new NPPs is too low, being more like 6.5–7, in line with other studies which show that new NPPs and new coal burners give about the same price, with maybe a slight edge for NPPs as the transport cost of the coal to the burners makes a substantial difference in the use of that fuel.

    The quotations are from


  117. Bastards are good a reverse engineering, the French are going to regret selling them that design.

    Years ago AECL was selling a series of low power pool reactors called SLOWPOKE, these were unique as they were the only design of reactor licensed internationally to run unattended at times (like overnight) and were targeted at schools and poorer countries, as they were inexpensive.

    The Chinese bought one, and a few years latter stated to sell a knock-off they called the Small Neutron Source. The market for SLOWPOKES disappeared, as did the program at AECL.


  118. I’ve long thought the least energy-intensive way of drawing down Co2 might be algae farms.

    As most know, NREL and the ASP began working on algae-for fuel in the 1970s. Despite initial promise, the program was unable to shape up economically, even allowing UNH’s general estimate of about $80 per tonne for algae in open raceway style ponds. The cost of processing the algae and extracting the lipids and starches was a lot more expensive, and of course there were problems with cross-contamination.

    That’s all very well if you want fuel, but whjat if yoiu don’t care which speacies of algau come to dominate the pond. If you only care about drawdown of CO2 (and perhaps NOx) then perhaps you should only care about yield. Foster optimal growth conditions by keeping the water at ideal temperature, agitating the pond water just enough to ensure that as much of the algae in the pond gets optimal light (perhaps you could have some sort of internal subsurface lighting driven by the least Co2-intensive source) and then harvest, air dry, and then bury/dump in deep ocean.

    If you could get costs down to about $35 per tonne this would probably be competitive with proposed CO2 abatement costs.

    The technology is very simple and the ponds themselves could be built entirely on heavily insolated but low value land out of lartgely recycled materials.

    I’d love to see a proper feasibility study done on this.


  119. Fran Barlow – While the idea of large algae farms sounds good on paper, there are several pitfalls to consider.

    Experience with open pond algae production has shown significant problems, mostly the same issues that any mono-cropping have, along infections by other organisms, imbalance in the pond’s water chemistry. Algal blooms cause a reduction of dissolved oxygen. As algae dies, bacteria proliferate, using up the dissolved oxygen. An aerator re-introduces oxygen into the water by agitating the water’s surface. However aeration creates an inhospitable environment as algae prefer calm waters. And so on.

    Plus something has to be done with the carbon that this process fixes, or it will just find its way back into the atmosphere.


  120. Fran Barlow, on 14 January 2011 at 2:25 PM — Besides all those other problems, dewatering (just algae, little water) is still a problem for micro-algae. Even with just the algae, one has to find a method of extracting the carbon from the other nutrients, which need to go back to the pond. One method is to use an anarobic digester to make biogas, about half CO2 and half methane. The nutrients remain in the liquid and solid phases for return to the pond or other agricultural lands.

    But what to do with the biogas? One could burn it (to make elecctricity) and return the fule gas to the algae pond to promote further growth. In principle this is carbon neutral, but doesn’t capture any carbon for disposal.
    Another choice is to refine the biogas into its two componenets. The methane is sold in the natgas market and the CO2 is sequestered.

    I’ve looked into the costs of this a bit. None of these algae based methods show much economic promise.


  121. Thanks for responding DV82XL and David …


    Algal blooms cause a reduction of dissolved oxygen.

    Might that not be the moment to harvest and start a new crop?

    Plus something has to be done with the carbon that this process fixes, or it will just find its way back into the atmosphere

    Absolutely What would be wrong with drying it, compressing it and then either burying it under some cheap inert material or perhaps pressing it into ingots and dumping it in the deep ocean where under pressure of the water and sequestered from oxygen and light it ought to remain stable?

    Dave Benson

    Even with just the algae, one has to find a method of extracting the carbon from the other nutrients, which need to go back to the pond.

    At the risk of admitting I’ve missed something obvious, why? If we are simply wanting to draw down atmospheric CO2 and then sequester it, why would we bother? Algal blooms appear without human help where ever relatively still waters, sunlight and some nutrient are in the same place. How hard would it be to find a location like this and to build ponds handy to them?


  122. Fran Barlow – It’s not that simple. Raising algae in open-ponds makes the entire effort dependent upon the hardiness of the strain chosen, requiring it to be unnecessarily resilient in order to withstand wide swings in temperature and pH, and competition from invasive fungi and bacteria. Open systems using a monoculture are also vulnerable to viral infection.

    Algal cultivars are really only at the beginning, and work is focused on strains yielding a specific product, and bred to thrive in bio-reactors.

    While the idea is good on paper, it would need many years of development and testing, and would face many places where things could go wrong (and will) for this to be a serious way of drawing down CO2 in the near future.


  123. Fran Barlow, on 15 January 2011 at 12:51 PM — Always David, never Dave, please; that’s someone else around here.

    Algae in ponds and the ocean are growth limited by nitrogen, mostly. If the minor nutrients, NPK, are not returned to the pond, artifical fertilizers have to be added, driving up the expense. Besides, to artifically fix nitrogen requires burning natgas.


  124. DV82XL

    Raising algae in open-ponds makes the entire effort dependent upon the hardiness of the strain chosen, requiring it to be unnecessarily resilient in order to withstand wide swings in temperature and pH …

    So is the problem that it would be difficult, while containing costs, to keep pH and water temperature within a fairly narrow band?

    and competition from invasive fungi and bacteria. Open systems using a monoculture are also vulnerable to viral infection.

    I hadn’t heard that, my reading of all those UNH and ASP studies notwithstanding. Thanks for the tip though. It is one of the things I’ve had a long interest in.

    David Benson:

    Always David, never Dave, please; that’s someone else around here

    Fair enough. I apologise for taking liberties.

    Algae in ponds and the ocean are growth limited by nitrogen, mostly. If the minor nutrients, NPK, are not returned to the pond, artifical fertilizers have to be added, driving up the expense. Besides, to artifically fix nitrogen requires burning natgas

    It does seem odd though that we persistentyl get unwanted algal blooms — in the neighbour’s swimming pool, and more seriously in places where fertiliser run-off contaminates local streams (and even the Gulf of Mexico) and yet we can’t provoke one without serious effort. Surely a sewage treatment plant, for example, would have no shortage of suitably “nutrient rich” water. There was talk some years back of channeling HC plant effluent through algae ponds. Indeed, AIUI, the much maligned Hazelwood coal plant (I’m amongst the maligners) did a bit of this.

    Maybe if I were an industrial chemist or a microbiologist I’d understand these things better.


  125. Fran Barlow – It’s not getting them to happen, it is getting them to happen under control. Having flash growth and then the pond not producing for several months while things sort themselves out is not an efficient process, and would not make much of a dent in the CO2 burden.

    Blooms happen in the wild alright but they are events that tend to be transitive, not what is needed for steady production.


  126. The broader question is this. Given that when we want to drawdown Co2 we want it to stay out of the flux for all eternity, (or at least the next few thousand years anyway) one could argue that the cost ought to be measured in tCO2years.

    If for example a new forest takes up a net 2MtCO2 we need to know how long it will hold the CO2 before it hands it back into the atmosphere. Just as you pay an agistment fee to agist horses and cattle based on how many and how long, the actual value of CO2 sequestration should reflect the same consideration.

    If foreclosing emissions of CO2 by using a low footprint source avoids CO2 at $50 per tonne, the true value of that tonne (when you include the forcings over X years) will be much greater than someone who merely locks up the CO2 for 50-100 years, even assuming they do that..

    So >if we could, through using algae or some other technology, permanently sequester existing CO2 it would be a lot more valuable. We begin to reverse mistakes already made. That would be worth paying a premium for, surely.


  127. Fran Barlow, on 15 January 2011 at 3:29 PM — Aha, the sewage treatment plant! Yes, by all means put the sludge into an anaerobic digester. The biogas will be of high quality. Some of it is enough to run the entire treatment plant and the minority remainder can be refined into methane for CNG filling stations or the natgas pipeline.

    This is proven technology now increasingly in use in various cities around the world. By the way, the liquid and solid portions of the digestate are then purchased by farmers, large and small, to improve fertility. The proceeds help offset the cost of the treatment plant.


  128. Tom Keen,

    Thanks for the link.

    Indonesia’s Parliament Speaker Marzuki Ali says using nuclear technology for energy generation can bridge the gap between developed countries and the rest of the world.

    Absolutely correct. And to achieve that we need low-cost nuclear. We will not get to low-cost nuclear fastest if we impose a carbon price in developed countries. That may get the developed countries to move a little, but it will be encouraging us to build high cost nuclear – with the impediments to low cost nuclear remaining in place. There will not be the incentive to remove the impediments to low-cost nuclear. That is the issue we need to tackle. It is the elephant in the room because no one wants to consider it seriously. It seems most people on BNC are wedded to a price on carbon. A price on carbon suits the gas industry and renewables industry, it will not bring us low-emission electricity.


  129. My response to a review of Lester Brown’s new book. thought some might be interested. This review was posted on a site dedicated to questions on and research about the famous civil rights organization, SNCC.

    My response is first; the review follows.

    everyone should be familiar with the best criticisms of scaled up renewable energy plans (IMHO, it simply won’t happen and the Germany example below indicates why).

    the criticisms are devastating and are made by pro nuclear greens like barry brook (a renowned climate scientist and now energy analyst) at and Ted Trainer, who is an anti nuclear powerdown advocate (whose material on nuclear power is wrong IMO). I can send people resources from both these guys.

    here are two examples of RE’s problems: while denmark produces 20 % of its electricity with wind power, it only consumes 1/2 of that, exporting the rest to its scandinavian neighbors at low prices as basically the scandinavian countries buy it up as a favor at unfavorable prices for denmark. These countries can afford to buy denmark’s dumped windpower because they get much of their basepower from hydro sources. sweden gets 46% from hydro and 46% from nuclear.

    Sweden has the cleanest electrical production in grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour along with nuclear france. denmark is far dirtier. denmark advocates point out that the additonal windpower has replaced coal and indeed this is true since coal production has declined at about the same magnitude as wind has increased. but during the same period, NATURAL GAS HAS INCREASED BY 129%. (my info comes from govt sources) This is not an accident. Renewables (save hydro) don’t replace basepower; they are parasitic on it.

    RE advocates will deny this or say that BP isn’t needed. whatever. they have no evidence, only bogus models torn to pieces by the above critics.

    second example:

    Germany has 15.5 GW of nominal solar power (solar PVs). My guess is that this is more than anyplace else in the world. This appears to be the equivalent of about 18 nuclear plants. However, the average capacity factor for these PVs is about 10%. on average, over the course of one year, it gets around 10 percent of 15 GW. IN THE WINTER, THIS GOES DOWN FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME TO .1 GW OR 1/150TH OF ADVERTISED AND PAYED FOR CAPACITY. so during the winter, the PVs are basically useless. do you think geographically dispersed wind will make up the difference? find out for yourself. but the answer is… uh, NO.

    If you want proof about solar production, go to the following site:

    play around here. go back to the beginning of december and see for yourselves what their vaunted solar power is producing. check out jan 10th, where for about 21 out of 24 hours, they got nothing, while getting about 2 GW out of fifteen for their three very good hours.

    Then think about this. and at least recognize the forbidding problems facing scaled up renewable energy (sans nuclear).

    James Hansen has made very similar criticisms of RE, claiming correctly in his book that Germany’s billions spent on renewables have resulted in a situation where “germany has made barely a dent in its carbon dioxide emissions and is planning more coal plants.” (192, storms of my grandchildren).

    He notes about various green organizations like UCS, WWF, RMI, etc. that they are fine organizations and he probably agrees with 90% of what they say. But on nuclear power, they are dogmatists, trotting out “the same few ‘experts’ who speak with technical detail that snows the listener and who conclude that the U.S. should terminate the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

    He says: “that’s what began to make me a bit angry…(203). Interested people can read the rest. why is it that Lester Brown is so sure? what does he know that James Hansen does not? What does Ted Glick know that James Hansen does not?

    here’s the thing: china and india are planning gigantic nuclear builds. china plans 100 GW by 2020 and this is scaled down.

    Please don’t reply with the usual objections. Read material that doesn’t just confirm your point of view.

    On Jan 16, 2011, at 12:18 PM, Ted Glick wrote:

    Future Hope column, January 16, 2011

    World on the Edge, a book review

    By Ted Glick

    “The world now has the technologies and financial resources to stabilize climate, eradicate poverty, stabilize population, restore the economy’s natural support systems, and, above all, restore hope. The United States, the wealthiest society that has ever existed, has the resources and leadership to lead this effort.” -Lester Brown

    World on the Edge, a just-released, 200-page book by Lester Brown, is important for many reasons.

    For those who still don’t understand the depth, immediacy and urgency of the climate crisis, World on the Edge makes that case clearly and understandably with a wealth of hard information.

    World makes the connections between that crisis and the other civilizational crises that confront humankind today. The titles of the book’s chapters dealing with these crises summarize them: Falling water tables and shrinking harvests; Eroding soils and expanding deserts; Rising temperatures, melting ice and food security; Environmental refugees: the rising tide; and Mounting stresses, failing states.

    For those who appreciate these realities, Brown’s latest book contains a great deal of useful statistics and short summaries of important reports and recent developments.

    And perhaps most importantly, Brown explains how the world’s governments and social movements can still avoid the looming threat of worldwide catastrophe, on every continent, this century, if we act in this decade with the degree of urgency required by our situation.

    The Causes

    Brown understands why we have reached this point of worldwide crisis: “The vested interests of the fossil fuel and defense industries in maintaining the status quo are strong.”

    Elsewhere he writes about a large number of organizations which “argue that what the world needs is not large corporations bringing large-scale, highly mechanized, capital-intensive agriculture into these countries, but international support for community-based farming, centered around labor-intensive family farms that produce for local and regional markets and that create desperately needed jobs.”

    Regarding immigration, he writes that “maybe it is time for governments to consider whether it might not be cheaper and far less painful in human terms to treat the causes of migration rather than merely respond to it. This means working with developing countries to restore their economy’s natural support systems—the soils, the grasslands, the forests—and it means accelerating the shift to smaller families to help people break out of poverty. Treating symptoms instead of causes is not good medicine. Nor is it good public policy.”

    The Solutions

    Brown’s solutions are summarized by the titles of the five chapters of the book dealing with our response to the crisis: Building an energy-efficient global economy; Harnessing wind, solar and geothermal energy; Restoring the economy’s natural support systems; Eradicating poverty, stabilizing population, and rescuing failing states; and Feeding eight billion.

    Is this economically possible? Brown calculates that “restoring the earth’s natural systems, stabilizing population and eradicating poverty will require under $200 billion per year in additional expenditures.” The sources of those funds are multiple: an over $700 billion U.S. military budget; taxing speculation in the international currency markets; wealth taxes; ending fossil fuel subsidies; and more. The resources are there; the problem is who controls them.

    Brown has specific example after specific example of what needs to be done. One example: if the world shifted from old light bulbs to the new CFL’s, linear fluorescents and LED’s, the share of the world’s electricity used for lighting would be cut from 19% to 7%. “This would save enough electricity to close 705 of the world’s 2800 coal-fired plants.”

    He reports that a 2009 survey of world wind resources published by the US National Academy of Sciences showed that on-land wind potential, not including offshore wind, could provide 40 times the world’s current consumption of electricity.

    A success story: a United Nations “Billion Tree Campaign,” inspired by Wangari Maathai and other Kenyan women, had planted over 10 billion trees by the end of 2009.


    Although Brown does not devote much of his book to the critical issue of how we can overcome the fossil fuel, war industry and related corporate powers-that-be, he does address this issue in a general way toward the end. His conclusion is that what is needed is what he calls the “sandwich” model of social change, “where there is a dedicated grassroots movement pushing for change that is strongly supported by political leadership.”

    Brown does not address the implications of the failure of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party in 2009-1010 to enact comprehensive climate legislation, or much climate legislation at all, despite big majorities in both houses of Congress and control of the White House. As I have written about elsewhere, I’m convinced that we will never get the political leadership we need at the top in this country without the emergence of a broadly-based, “third force” movement and alliance.

    Thankfully, not surprisingly, Brown does not advocate personal lifestyle changes as what individuals who want to make a difference should do. In his words, “they are not nearly enough. Restructuring the global economy means becoming politically active, working for the needed changes, as the grassroots campaign against coal-fired plants is doing. Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.”

    Some Specific Criticisms and Praise

    There were places where Brown, either by what he wrote or didn’t write, disappointed me. I found nothing in the book about the importance of organic farming as a way to rebuild depleted soils that can then sequester huge amounts of carbon. He made no mention of the fact that almost all of the seeds used for soybean and corn production in the USA are controlled by Monsanto, and many of those are genetically engineered. At one point he speaks approvingly of an “export-oriented farm sector” when it comes to agriculture policy for poor countries, with no mention of how this approach strengthens the industrial agriculture model pushed by transnational agribusiness interests.

    At the same time, I appreciated his willingness to deal with the population issue. Given that most of us want people wherever they are to live decent lives, and given the fact that we’ve already gone past what the world’s natural environment is able to sustain, it is important that family planning and small families become the world norm as soon as possible.

    I also appreciated his forthright advocacy of a tax shift: “The benchmark of political leadership will be whether leaders succeed in shifting taxes from work to environmentally destructive activities. It is tax shifting, not additional appropriations, that is the key to restructuring the energy economy in order to stabilize climate.”

    And I was pleased that Brown made clear that natural gas, nuclear power and burying carbon emissions under the ground or the ocean are in no way part of the mix of solutions needed. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and recent studies at CornellUniversity are showing that if a full life cycle analysis of it is done, from extraction through transmission to burning, it is probably as bad as coal when it comes to the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Nukes are bad for lots of reasons, and “carbon capture and sequestration” is nothing but a pipe dream, a mirage, a lifeline for the coal industry that’s more like the slenderest of threads.

    The world is a much more hopeful place because of the work and life of Lester Brown. World on the Edge should be read by everyone who wants to see a better life for their children, which is just about everybody.

    Ted Glick is the Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. He has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. Past columns and additional information can be found at


  130. The article below makes no sense to me unless the iranians are building an RBMK type thing with graphite moderator and no containment.

    anyone know anything?

    Stuxnet virus attack: Russia warns of ‘Iranian Chernobyl’ Russian nuclear officials have warned of another Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster at Iran’s
    controversial Bushehr reactor because of the damage caused by the Stuxnet virus, according to the latest Western intelligence reports.

    By Con Coughlin


  131. Last week the West Australian newspaper ran a large article by WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam on all the reasons why nuclear power and uranium mining had no future and should not be considered.

    The on-line link is:

    This article contains quite a few “facts” that appear contrary to the “facts” that I have heard here and elsewhere. I hope that someone with a better grasp of which “facts” are the real facts than I have will respond to the good Senator.
    I’m sure he will be impervious but it might cause others in the general population to stop and think.


  132. Poor Man’s Guide to Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs)

    LCOE consists of operational expenses and paying off the mortgage. From the Nuscale ppt in
    Conf. on small modular nuclear reactors; Nuscale in presentation session I-P:
    one finds that the (assumed) constant operating expenses are either 28.6 or else 32,3 mills/kWh, depending. Simplify to say 31 mills/kWh. The mortgage is either 80% with 8%/10.5% interest or else 100% with 5% interest depending on who is paying.

    This means there are two formulas depending on how good a deal you can work out with the bankers. I’ll just call these 10% and 5%. The cost per Watt to actually build the NPP is denoted by B.

    10% formula
    LCOE10 = 16.075B + 31 mills/kWh

    5% formula
    LCOE5 = 8.075B = 31 mills/kWh

    (1) The cost estmates for Duke Power to build two Westinghouse AP1000s ranges from 11 to 17 billion US$. I suppose that Duke Power will have to use LCOE10
    with B ranging from 4.766 to 7.366.
    LCOE10 = 107.6 to 149.4 mills/kWh
    (2) The reactor under construction in Finland has B close to 4.5. I suppose (without really knowing) that LCOE5 is applicable. LCOE5 = 67.3 mills/kWh.
    (3) The reactors under constuction in the UAE by the South Koreans have B close to 3.8. LCOE5 = 61.7 mills/kWh.
    (4) The chinese Gen II+ design, as build in China, has B=1.5. LCOE10 = 55.1 mills/kWh and LCOE5 = 43.1 mills/kWh.

    By way of contrast, wholesale power futures market for on-demand, firm peak power range from 27 to 33 mills/kWh in the western United States.


  133. Has anybody seen any substantive replies to the various critiques on the ZCA2020 Plan? it would be useful to know how these are received (taking the point that the proponents of that plan may believe their objectives have been met, and that debate is counter-productive).

    Also, there is an interesting current review of Elecricity technologies by Professor Manfred Lenzen. this was commissioned by AUA (Australian Uranium Association) but seems to be quite balanced and analytical in my view.

    In case it has not been mentioned in this site, I think this is freely downloadable from the AUA website at:

    The summary says:

    “The AUA asked Professor Manfred Lenzen of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis to provide a detailed update on the state of nuclear electricity generation technology and that of other renewable and non-renewable generation technologies.

    Professor Lenzen’s analysis of the scientific literature shows:

    •The generating technologies currently available to provide base-load electricity are either fossil fuel-based or nuclear power or, in some cases, hydro-power
    •Nuclear power and power from renewables are the most effective technologies for minimizing greenhouse gas emissions; they have significant mitigation potential and low energy requirements
    •The mature technologies are the fossil fuel technologies, nuclear, hydro and wind
    •The technologies still in development are coal with carbon capture and storage, geothermal and solar (photovoltaic and solar thermal)
    •Wind power requires the least energy input per unit of electricity output, followed closely by large hydro and nuclear, then solar and fossil fuels
    •Hydro is the least subsidised technology, followed by nuclear and geothermal, wind, coal, biomass and solar
    •The fossil fuel-based technologies cost least, followed by nuclear and wind, then hydro and then solar
    •All the technologies face barriers to their development and deployment, which reinforces the need for countries to consider a full portfolio of technologies.

    I would be interested in hearing any views from the technologically-proficient contributors on this document.


  134. LB it’s odd that the AUA statement doesn’t mention imposed carbon pricing (ETS or carbon tax) when that would favour nuclear. No mention of enrichment in Australia. Nor do they highlight any problems with taking the gas route which seems to be Australia’s default energy policy.

    DB it would be nice to have a formula or series of preferably linear cost formulas. They would give wholesale electricity cost of as a function of capital cost, interest rates, plant life, average capacity, plant life, greenfield/brownfield, FOAK vs repeat, cooling towers vs river water, carbon tax vs no carbon tax and so on. Clearly cost per watt is an essential variable with AP series reactors costing $3.80/w to build in the UAE to $8.50/w in the Duke case.


  135. John Nwelands,

    LB it’s odd that the AUA statement doesn’t mention imposed carbon pricing (ETS or carbon tax) when that would favour nuclear.

    How high would the carbon price need to be to favour nuclear over gas in Australia, given the impediments to nuclear that exist in Australia?

    Why do you believe we will remove the impediments to low-cost nuclear AFTER we impose a carbon price given that we are not prepared to face up to them and acknowledge their existence before imposing a carbon price?


  136. Peter it would be bizarre if the carbon pricing made nuclear a clear winner but the prohibition remained. When or if nontrivial carbon pricing becomes law I think that rules out any new coal fired power stations, that is using proven coal technology. That leaves gas or nuclear. If an intending power station builder chose nuclear presumably they would go to Canberra to ask for the impediments to be removed.

    However I don’t rule out bizarre outcomes;
    1) the carbon price is frivolous or effectively optional
    2) a blatant gimme to gas with the NP ban staying
    3) CCS and geothermal fantasies return.
    What seems likely is a half arsed $10 carbon tax with a ‘strengthened commitment to renewables’ ie more subsidies and quotas. However climate nasties and Peak Oil are bearing down on us so the public wants results. Something must happen if not in 2011 then in the next few years.


  137. John Newlands,

    This has all been discussed on the “Alternative to Pricing Carbon” thread. You continue to argue based on your belief but with out anything to support it.

    If an intending power station builder chose nuclear presumably they would go to Canberra to ask for the impediments to be removed.

    Sorry, John. It does not work like that. You also have all the Greens and environmental NGO’s saying to the government, press and activist groups “don’t go nuclear. Its evil”.

    If we don’t remove the impediments to low cost nuclear first they will be covered up (as explained on the other thread). A few may be removed reluctantly. The remainder will stay. Nuclear will be similar price to USA, Europe, UK, Canada – i.e not economically viable in Australia. The carbon price would have to be very high to make nuclear viable under that situation. So we will build gas plants for a long time, and the cost of electricity will sky rocket. (some may think that is a good thing, but they are single issue thinkers. They do not consider the consequences for the economy and for all the services they themselves also argue elsewhere that they want!!).

    John, the $10 carbon tax argument is a dishonest approach. Everyone can see it is a token just to get the legislation through the parliament. Then it will be raised, rapidly, at each future budget (except election year budgets) to raise the revenue the government needs to fund its election promises; election promises aimed squarely at swinging voters in marginal electorates. Anyone who doesn’t understand that this is what happens once a new tax is introduced is very naive.

    John, can I suggest you consider the benefits of removing the impediments to nuclear instead of pricing carbon. Just think about it instead of rejecting it without thought. The major economic reforms of the Howard-Hawke-Keating-Hawke-Costello era involved improving economic efficiency – removing constraints to productivity. That can be achieved by reducing the cost of clean electricity so it is cheaper than coal. You shoulds reocognise that it is irresponsible to by pushing for an economically damaging solution before you have seriously considered the alternatives.


  138. “Wind power requires the least energy input per unit of electricity output, followed closely by large hydro and nuclear, then solar and fossil fuels.”

    Picking up on Leigh’s question, I have a hard time understanding how the above could be true without being misleading.

    if it means that the input/output ratio is tops for its unreliable power, it’s meaningless. if criteria of reliable power are required, then all the overbuild, backup, transmission costs have to be added.

    I would be interested in Peter Lang’s view. How does this statement compare to your analyses, Peter? seems to me we are not comparing apples to apples.


  139. Gre Meyerson,

    Yes. I agree with your statement. It is misleading to compare wind with fossil fuel or nuclear on any basis unless wind energy includes all costs, all emissions, all environmental impacts and all the energy inputs of firming wind to give power of the same quaiity as nuclear and fossil fuels.


  140. Peter I’ve tried a from-the-ground-up calculation as I’m mystified by some of the ACIL Tasman tables, for example the inclusion of other taxes as an operating expense.

    Take the case of 1000 Mwe combined cycle plant and a 1000 Mwe Gen 3 plant both producing 8 million Mwh a year. The capital cost of the gas plant is $2.50/w with a life time of 20 years and the nuke plant costs $6/w but it lasts 50 years. I’d put financing costs at 11% = 6% interest + 5% depreciation for the gas plant. For the NPP make it 8% = 6 % interest (no risk premium & no guarantees) + 2% depreciation.

    At 40% thermal efficiency and gas costing $5 per GJ (new contract) I reckon the combined cycle plant will spend $360m a year on fuel. I read somewhere a Gen 3 will spend about $160m a year on fuel. As for salaries, water use, maintenance and so on let’s assume say $200m a year for both plants.

    We’re assuming no carbon taxes. The CCGT plant will cost 275 + 360 + 200 = $835m a year to run. The NPP will cost
    480 + 160 + 200 = $840 a year to run.
    Dividing by 8 million Mwh and rounding to the nearest dollar we get $104 and $105 per Mwh.

    Thus we only need a small carbon price to swing it, less than $10/t assuming the nuclear risk premium is avoided. However I maintain within a decade there will be a gas price shock when truckers and motorists discover how ridiculously cheap gas is compared to batteries and oil based fuels. Fine tuning the percentages may be spurious accuracy as we really have no idea of future fuel prices.


  141. John,

    Sorry, your calculations are totally bogus. I suggest you read the ACIL-Tasman report to get an understanding of how the LRMC is calculated. There are many other reports you could use and they use different assumptions and calculation methods, so best to stick with ACIL-Tasman. There is no point trying to start from scratch yourself if you do not understand the methodology. no one will take any notice.

    So, using ACIL-Tasman’s figures in the tables, and factoring up until nuclear has an advantage over gas, how high would the carbon price need to be to make nuclear break-even with CCGT and how high to give it sufficient advantage to get it started?


  142. Peter the exercise you suggest might seem to vindicate your belief that only crippling carbon taxes could favour nuclear. FWIW I get a carbon price of $111 per tonne using northern NSW air cooled CCGT vs nuclear. From Table 52 the respective LRMCs are $51.62 and $101.01 per Mwh. The $111/t comes from dividing the $50 difference by the emissivity of CCGT of 0.45tCO2/Mwh per Table 41.

    But hold everything. I’m gobsmacked by Table 55 which shows nuclear’s ‘annualised tax costs etc’ some 5X that CCGT. I’d want to see more justification for that because it reads like a last minute editing job. If they want to get into levelised future costs how come there is no mention of decommissioning? I might say this whole field of LCOE calculations is dodgy. Even Wikipedia contradict the figures they give six months earlier.


  143. John Newlands,

    Well, you can forget Wikipedia, for a start. That is of no vakue whtsoever at the level we are talking about. Hewve you looked to see what changed and why? Such a statement is totally meaningless. We have to compare like with like on a consistent basis.

    The LRMC includes all the costs, including the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Although not specifically stated, I would assume that ACIL-Tasman have included these costs in the LRMC, as is standard practice.

    Regarding the tax component, it is certainly not an after thought. It is an important component of the fixed operating costs. Clearly you still have not read the sections of the report that explains this (Section 2.2). The quotes below should be sufficent to let readers realise that there is much more to the tax component than you are leading them to believe.

    The discount rate used by ACIL Tasman within its new entrant model is a
    calculated post-tax real WACC. A post-tax WACC is used because of the importance of depreciation for capital intensive plant such as power stations.

    WACC = weighted average cost of capital.

    ACIL Tasman utilises a post-tax real Officer WACC within its new entrant model and applies it to un-geared cash flows that do not include the effects of the interest tax shield or dividend imputation credits.

    • E is the total market value of equity
    • D is the total market value of debt
    • V is the total enterprise value (value of debt plus equity)
    • Re is the nominal post-tax cost of equity
    • Rd is the nominal post-tax cost of debt
    • TE is the effective corporate tax rate
    • G (Gamma), which is the value of imputation tax credits as a proportion of the tax credits paid.

    In short, the ‘Tax’ item included in the FOM is a composite of all the company, depreciation and many other taxes that apply to businesses.


  144. I am convinced that:

    – Imposing a carbon price is exactly the wrong policy;

    – imposing a carbon price will seriously damage the economy and make us less able to take the appropriate actions we need to take (for whatever problems we have to address) in the future;

    – imposing a carbon price, if high enough, will drive gas but not nuclear (and most here understand the problems with the gas option)

    – if we want to make deep cuts to emissions from electricity generation we have these options:

    1. regulate emissions (decreasing over time), and/or

    2. prohibit new, and phase out existing, fossil fuel power stations, and/or

    3. remove the impediments to low cost nuclear to allow nuclear to be cheaper than coal (this would include internalising externalities of ALL electricity generators to the extent that is practicable; this must be done on a fair and equal basis for all technologies).

    Imposing a carbon price is exactly the wrong policy.

    I favour the initial focus being on removing impediiments to low-cost nuclear, and perhaps supported (once achieved) by regulating emissions.


  145. Peter Lang:

    Did you read the Twitter Update posted on BNC yesterday ….”& considers the potential and bottlenecks around new build ambitions for 2020…”?

    I would be interested in your reactions. Seems the Chinese may be becoming a little less gung ho over matters of safety. This attitude may do little to encourage your low cost nuclear ambitions if they are based on existing designs.

    You assess that new designs are decades away. This is almost certainly correct, given current levels of research funding. However, don’t you think that there exists the possibility of greatly expediting this process were more funding to be made available?


  146. Peter I suspect those who try and follow that explanation of WACC may now share my concerns about the report. Bottom line I just don’t buy the conclusion that uncarbontaxed gas fired electricity is twice as expensive as new nuclear. Why is anybody even building nukes?

    I would like to see a different style of financial analysis which doesn’t try to bamboozle the reader with concepts like WACC. They’re saying ‘we know what gamma should be so trust us’. If we are going to replace coal stations with gas on the strength of gamma factors then the public needs a simple explanation.

    My earlier ballpark estimate concluded that nuclear costs could be roughly comparable to CCGT on current gas prices and no carbon tax. My belief remains until convinced otherwise is that nuclear would be quite viable with
    – suitable legislation
    – loan guarantees to overcome the risk premium
    – modest carbon taxes perhaps as low as $10.


  147. John Newlands,

    Peter I suspect those who try and follow that explanation of WACC may now share my concerns about the report.

    I doubt that is true (except for a few perhaps). I suggest people would now realise that you hadn’t even read the report and furthermore you don’t have the slightest understanding of what you are talking about.

    The ACIL-Tasman report is as authoritative as we have available at the moment. It was contracted by AEMO, was published on AEMO, is the basis of the 2010 data for their modelling, and for Treasury, ABARE and ATSE modelling. ACIL-Tasman is the authority. Their methods are consistent with the methods used by EPRI and most other organisations doing this work, although the various organisations do use slightly differing discount methods depending on the purpose of the report. ACIL-Tasman would have agreed the method with the client while negotiating the scope of work. All this is clearly way above your understanding of the subject.

    John, I’d suggest you read the EPRI report that was submitted as part of the UMPNE. It explains these issues and why certain methods are used for certain comparisons. The ACIL-Tasman report you are disparaging also explains – if you would take the time to read it.

    Frankily, you have demonstrated you have zero understanding about the matter you are pontificating on, but that doesn’t stop you making outrageous statements like this beauty:

    Peter I suspect those who try and follow that explanation of WACC may now share my concerns about the report. Bottom line I just don’t buy the conclusion that uncarbontaxed gas fired electricity is [half] as expensive as new nuclear.


  148. Douglas Wise,

    Thank you for the link to the WNN article. . I hadn’t read it previously. I agree it is a good article. It is one government organisation offering cautionary advice. This should be considered as just one piece of well publicised advice amongst many other pieces of advice from various organisations. You can’t just accept one.

    As you know, I have no problem whatsoever with the safety of Gen II nuclear. It is excessive compared with what we accept as safe enough now (that does not mean there will be no industrial accidents; there will be as there is in any industry). The excessive safety requirements imposed on the industry over a period of over 40 years have caused nuclear to be far more costly than it needs to be. So anything that is done to reduce the cost, while remaining far safer than the fossil fuel alternatives, is what we should and must do if we want to cut world GHG emissions fast. So I strongly support what the Chinese are doing to reduce costs and roll out nuclear as fast as they can.

    I hear on one hand people arguing that cutting GHG emissions is the greatest moral challenge facing humanity and if we don’t do say immediately it will all be too late, and there will be dire consequences for life on planet Earth. Then, on the other hand, these same people are saying we must not accept nuclear unless it is at least 10 times safer than fossil fuels. No wonder many people think this whole CAGW thing is simply the latest eco-warriors’ scaremongering as a means to achieve its other goals.

    [China] should be ‘careful’ concerning ‘the volume of second generation units under construction… the scale should not be too large’ to avoid being perceived as being behind the curve of international safety in future.

    Can you believe that? China, rolling out nuclear as fast as it can, at 10 to 100 times safer than the coal it is replacing, is accused of being behind the ball on safety. Wow. What inconsistency. I do understand the point the author is making, but surely what is important is to roll out nuclear in China at the fastest possible pace. If that means they have to build Gen IIs until they have developed the capability to build only Gen IIIs at the required rate, then I would argue China is doing exactly what we would urge them to do. It is incredible to hear you, Douglas Wise, arguing that China should slow down the rate it builds nuclear. The world is criticising China for not doing enough to reduce its emissions and for not committing to a date by which its emissions will peak, and then here we have you criticising China for trying to roll out nuclear as fast as it can. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    If Australia determined that Chinese CPR1000 would provide the least-cost, low-emissions electricity in Australia (whole of life), while complying with minimum IAEA requirements, then that is what I would want. Whole of life costs include all the costs of fuel, technology transfer, refurbishments, operation and maintenance throughout the plant’s life, decommissioning and used-fuel management. So, if their bid is fully compliant with all the requirements stated in the Request for Tender, then all whole of life costs are included in the LCOE and this is the right way to compare which plants we want to buy.

    The SCRO’s recommendations look reasonable to me. However, cutting back the ambition from 120GW to 100GW I would take to mean they would only want to do that if they could not implement the necessary improvements so they can achieve their aim of 120 GW.


  149. Peter think of me as a plodder who needs things simplified. Therefore others may be in the same boat. You may note that both Barry Brook and Martin Nicholson share my view that only small carbon taxes are needed to favour nuclear over gas

    I disagree with the use of weighted average cost of capital if that includes a return to shareholders. I don’t think that worries Electricite de France for example. The WACC approach is too high falutin’ for me and the other plodders. When the next baseload plant is gas I hope you will be able to explain the significance of the gamma parameter to the public. High power bills?..couldn’t be helped it was all due to gamma.

    I’m not entirely disparaging ACIL Tasman as the early sections of the report all seem quite plausible. They admit they can’t know future fuel prices. Then Table 55 comes out the blue with little supporting explanation and says CCGT has ~20% of some composite cost item of nuclear. Therefore I shall look at the other reports you suggest to see how they handle it.


  150. John Newlands and Douglas Wise,

    I’ve copied the discussion we’ve had over the past two days regarding carbon pricing from this Open thread to the “Alternative to the CPRS” thread, starting here:

    I’ve copied my comments with links back to your comments. I’ve done this to attempt to keep as much as possible of the important discussion about carbon pricing on the one thread. That will make it easier to find important posts on this matter over the year ahead. Carbon pricing policy discussions will be a really important topic over this coming year, I believe, and it is difficult to get back to important discussions later if they were posted on Open Threads and other unrelated threads.

    So could I urge contributors to discuss carbon pricing on the “Alternative to CPRS” thread until a new thread on this subject is posted. I am working on a new article, but it will take a while to complete it (if ever)


  151. David B. Benson,

    Hydro-electric costs are very site specific. If you have rugged mountains, suitable geology and high rainfall, hydro can be cheap. If you have low topographinc relief and low rainfall, like most of Australia, then hydro is not viable.

    The Australian Snowy Mountains scheme has a capacity factor of 14%. It is still valuable for peak power generation, for power and frequency stabilisation and power quality control, and for emergency back up. It is a source of very high value power – in fact, far too valuable to waste on backing up intermittent, unreliable renewable energy generators.

    Did you see this post and the comments on the thread?


  152. Peter Lang, on 20 January 2011 at 1:49 PM — Yes I followed it at the time and reviewed it today. I only mentioned the cost figures to have some handle on the costs of the quite attractive Gravity Power proposal which I linked a few comments back. I gather the hole in the ground gravity power would have costs very much the same anywhere but roughly the same as the average to lower cost surface pumped hydro.

    The smaller gravity power proposal appears to be quite attractive in meeting demand spikes. Not so sure about the larger one. I would greatly appreciate your taking the time to read the proposal and offering your opinion.


  153. David B. Benson,

    Why do you believe what the advocates say? Have you done any sanity checks?

    We’ve been trough many such discussions before, so by now you should be able to do a sanity check for yourself. John Morgan provided an excellent check list in a previous posts. Why don’t you look back at that as a guide.


  154. Peter Lang, on 20 January 2011 at 2:03 PM — I’m always skeptical of what potential vendors state. But I have a moderately decent understanding of the engineering issues. In some situations a small gravity power unit might prove to be a cost effective solution. Afterall, somebody in the east actually build a one MWh flywheel arrray; that’s expensive!

    Sorry, I don’t recall John Morgan’s checklist. Is it on this thread?


  155. @DBB, thanks for the Gravity Power link, however I couldn’t find any mention of construction costs other than “surprisingly low”. I did a rough-as-guts calculation indicating the cost of one of those 10m x 2 km holes as something like $25m, just to excavate it (i.e. no lining etc.). If you have “a moderately decent understanding of the engineering issues”, that’s a lot better than me – do you think you could come up with a better quantitative estimate?


  156. BHP’s Olympic Dam dream

    This might be of interest.

    It provides some insight into the investors’ side of large scale, long term investments (like nuclear). It is also relevant because of what it says about the Olympic Dam copper/uranium/gold mine.

    – The most valuable ore body in the world – now valued at $867 billion

    – by the time it gets to full capacity, about 2020, it will have taken over 40 years to develop from the time it was discovered in 1976.

    While institutional shareholders think in six to 12 month time frames the chief executives of mining companies must think in decades.

    Yet they also have to be nice to the institutions. At one time the institutions called Western Mining Corporation the Wasting Money Corporation. In many ways David Upton’s book on Olympic Dam is the story of executives and board that raised equity when it was available but thumbed their noses at institutions who wanted them to think short-term. It’s an inspirational Australian story. I commend the book to you.


  157. David Benson, the post of mine Peter refers to is the TCASE12 article. I see the article you link to quotes performance numbers. I think Peter also gives some nominal costs for hole drilling and construction in the Pumped Hydro post and comments. So it should be possible to rub some numbers together and come up with a reality check. (Which I won’t be doing as I’m about to head to Tasmania for two weeks for a conference + holiday).


  158. David B. Benson,

    Shaft sinking costs far more than tunnel boring, perhaps 5 to 10 times the cost per cubic metre. You can get costs on the internet, but you probably have them already given your claimed engineering expertise in the subject.


  159. Mark Duffett, on 20 January 2011 at 3:58 PM — 10 meter diameter ~= 31.5 m^2 so for 2 km deep ~ 62832 m^2 to be removed. If rock with specific gravity of 3.3, that’s 207346 tonnes. The average lift is 1000 meters so over $100 per tonne seems high, but I have yet to look at TCASE12.

    The other major expense is the large steel pipe filling the hole.


  160. for the radiation people (strange term I realize):

    DV, Luke, etc. others.

    I’m reading some studies on DU and cancer/birth defects etc.

    I have read a recent study, 2010, by Boice et al which shows no significant connection between living near uranium mines and mills in two counties of New Mexico. This is what I would expect given what I know of the chemical and radiological properties of uranium.

    but, just to look at the other side, I am reading the following article on DU and birth defects:

    they acknowledge DU’s low specific activity and yet cite the following:

    U238 decays primarily by alpha emission. Alpha particles rapidly lose their kinetic energy and have little penetrating power. In the decay process beta and gamma particles are emitted which are more penetrating. Alpha radiation is only hazardous when internalized in the body, but once deposited in living tissue it releases its energy in a concentrated area causing greater damage than beta or gamma radiation.

    Still, large quantities of DU and/or radioactive decay products and other radioactive impurities can lead to substantial external exposure. A Geiger counter measurement by a correspondent in the recent Iraq war show that radiation emitting from a DU bullet fragment registered nearly 1000 – 1900 times the normal background radiation level. A three-foot long DU fragment from a 12 mm tank shell registered radiation 1300 times the background level. A DU tank found by the U.S Army radiological team emitted 260 – 270 millirads of radiation per hour compared to the safety limit of 100 millirads per year. A pile of jet-black dust registered a count of 9839 emissions in one minute, a level more than 300 times the average background level [6].

    Me again: if these numbers are to be believed, how could a DU bullet or a DU tank register such numbers unless something else is going on here?

    like other materials mixed in with the DU–the author’s reference to “and/or radioactive decay products and other radioactive impurities.”

    you may note their discussion of the shiprock uranium mining area, where they seem disappointed to find no statistical significance in incidence of birth defects.



  161. greg meyerson – There is so much wrong here it is difficult to know where to start.

    Alpha radiation does not deposit in the body, an alpha-emitting bit of matter might, but the two protons and two neutrons of the alpha particles only acquire two electrons to become a helium atom after they have been absorbed. The do whatever damage they do from the kinetic energy of their impact right after the are expelled from the active nucleus.

    The decay process does not emit beta and gamma radiation, the daughters do, but the half-lives are so long that it makes no contribution to the material’s radiotoxicity.

    As far as excessive radiation from DU fragments, all I an say is that this is the first time that I have seen an article from the Christian Science Monitor , written by someone with no background in radiation physics, used as a reference in a purportedly scientific paper.


  162. Right DV:

    I read the CS Monitor article. here’s a snippet. the article moves from asserting the controversial nature of DU due to its “trail of contamination” from its 4.5 billion year half life [!!] TO relatively reasonable statements about DUs chem toxicity being more of a worry around exploded shells than the radiotoxicity, which the doctor interviewed suggests is nothing to worry about, TO the SHOCKING unexplained radioactive URANIUM bullets that somehow generate 1900 times background radiation. Here it is: the article makes no sense.

    The depleted-uranium bullets are made of low-level radioactive nuclear-waste material, left over from the making of nuclear fuel and weapons. It is 1.7 times as dense as lead, and burns its way easily through armor.

    But it is controversial because it leaves a trail of contamination that has half-life of 4.5 billion years – the age of our solar system.

    Less DU in this war?

    In the first Gulf War, US forces used 320 tons of DU, 80 percent of it fired by A-10 aircraft. Some estimates suggest 1,000 tons or more of DU was used in the current war. But the Pentagon disclosure Wednesday that about 75 tons of A-10 DU bullets were used points to a smaller overall DU tonnage in Iraq this time.

    US military guidelines developed after the first Gulf War – which have since been considerably eased – required any soldier coming within 50 yards of a tank struck with DU to wear a gas mask and full protective suit. Today, soldiers say they have been told to steer clear of any DU.

    “If a [tank] was taken out by depleted uranium, there may be oxide that you don’t want to inhale. We want to minimize any exposure, at least to the lowest level possible,” Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, a top Pentagon health official told journalists on March 14, just days before the war began. “If somebody needs to go into a tank that’s been hit with depleted uranium, a dust mask, a handkerchief is adequate to protect them – washing their hands afterwards.”

    Not everyone on the battlefield may be as well versed in handling DU, Dr. Kilpatrick said, noting that his greater concern is DU’s chemical toxicity, not its radioactivity: “What we worry about like lead in paint in housing areas – children picking it up and eating it or licking it – getting it on their hands and ingesting it.”

    In the US, stringent NRC rules govern any handling of DU, which can legally only be disposed of in low-level radioactive waste dumps. The US military holds more than a dozen NRC licenses to work with it.

    In Iraq, DU was not just fired at armored targets.

    Video footage from the last days of the war shows an A-10 aircraft – a plane purpose-built around a 30-mm Gatling gun – strafing the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in downtown Baghdad.

    A visit to site yields dozens of spent radioactive DU rounds, and distinctive aluminum casings with two white bands, that drilled into the tile and concrete rear of the building. DU residue at impact clicked on the Geiger counter at a relatively low level, just 12 times background radiation levels.

    Hot bullets
    But the finger-sized bullets themselves – littering the ground where looters and former staff are often walking – were the “hottest” items the Monitor measured in Iraq, at nearly 1,900 times background levels.


  163. DV: humor me for a second. these references to superhot DU rounds, etc., –and by the way the hot DU tank is not a tank but a tank round, but no matter (the “scholarly article” makes the mistake)–is this even REMOTELY POSSIBLE if the round is made out of DU?

    I’m figuring either the geiger counter readings are incorrect, or made up OR the shell isn’t DU.



  164. greg meyerson – First, depleted uranium is also used to reinforce the armor protection of M1 series tanks. So yes there is a possibility that the author saw one of those.

    As for the reading that they claimed to have made, one milligram of U- 238 has a specific activity of 14.4 Becquerel, which means it emits 14.4 alpha particles every second. For comparison, it is not uncommon for a particular radioactive substance to have a specific activity of several millions of Becquerels.

    This would mean 864 events per min per gram so the 9,839 radioactive emissions in one minute, suggests around ten grams of dust in the sample. Now this sounds like a lot compared to background, but in this case they are sampling the are around the probe.

    I must go, I will continue latter


  165. right.

    but the article uses the numbers to scare. U has a low specific activity but if there is a significant mass, the immediate area might set of a geiger pretty well.

    so do you suppose the numbers are accurate but very misleading? or inaccurate? just as a guess?


  166. greg meyerson – They are misleading, and on purpose, I am sure. An average human contains potassium-40 and carbon-14. These produce around 4,000 and 1,200 events per second and we are not considering the counts from nitrogen and phosphorus that add to the human radioactivity profile.

    When the subject is radiation and health the only thing that makes sense is dose rates, and those are measured in Sievert (Sv). Everything else is meaningless.


  167. well DV: I figured one could produce something scary with enough bananas in a room or something. enough to set off geiger counters and dwarf background radiation in the immediate vicinity of the banana concentration.

    If 365 bananas can give you 3.6 mrems, just think what a couple of tons of bananas would do to a geiger counter.

    from wikipedia:

    A banana equivalent dose is a concept occasionally used by nuclear power proponents[1][2] to place in scale the dangers of radiation by comparing exposures to the radiation generated by a common banana.

    Many foods are naturally radioactive, and bananas are particularly so, due to the radioactive potassium-40 they contain. The banana equivalent dose is the radiation exposure received by eating a single banana. Radiation leaks from nuclear plants are often measured in extraordinarily small units (the picocurie, a millionth of a millionth of a curie, is typical). By comparing the exposure from these events to a banana equivalent dose, a more intuitive assessment of the actual risk can sometimes be obtained.

    The average radiologic profile of bananas is 3520 picocuries per kg, or roughly 520 picocuries per 150g banana.[3] The equivalent dose for 365 bananas (one per day for a year) is 3.6 millirems (36 μSv).

    Bananas are radioactive enough to regularly cause false alarms on radiation sensors used to detect possible illegal smuggling of nuclear material at US ports.[4]

    [Luke Weston is cited on the banana page]


  168. greg meyerson, Right, slip of the decimal point there.

    Nevertheless it’s the wrong way to present this data, and they did it to FUD the ignorant public, which to me is a violation of journalist trust.

    Also this article should not have been referenced in a scientific paper as a source.


  169. Peter Lang:

    I was alerted by Charles Barton’s site to a new website ( which should prove to be of interest to you and others who take an interest in reducing nuclear costs in developed democracies.


  170. DV: as I get older and as I get more interested in understanding np, I get nerdier.

    according to IAEA, the specific activity of U238 is 12.4 Bq/sec, not 14.4.

    I actually calculated the half life based on 14.4 and came up 700 million years short.

    Now I know why. It’s your fault (smiley face).


  171. IAEA (thanks david benson) says that contact dose rate from a DU projectile is about 2 mSv/hour, which about corresponds to the CM article’s 260-270 millirads/hour.

    but then the CM article contrasted that number (in order to shock) with the “safety limit of 100 millirads/yr.”

    thus equating (and this is of course the true FRAUD of the thing) contact dose rate (and alpha particles don’t travel too far) with a limit based on an average dose rate for all humans walking on the planet.

    I think I understand now what exactly is so misleading about this article and the “scholarship” that cites it. thanks dv.


  172. greg meyerson – Be careful, While DU is mostly U238, it is not pure U238. It will likely have a small percentage of U235 left and traces of U234, U233, and U232 still in in which will elevate specific activity.


  173. Podgarus,

    And Peter Lang, I see you are off to a flying start already with 4 comments. Must you be such a motor mouth?

    This is the sort of comment – you want to hear only from those who tell you want you want to hear – that reinforces the perception of religious like belief. It is this perception that is raising concern about implementing policies that will damage the economy while there is serious doubt that the CAGW isn’t just another of the never ending run of scares that humans fall for.

    You said on another thread, in defence of your belief in catastrophic AGW:

    “It is the physics stupid”

    But you wouldn’t have a clue about the physics. So you are just a believer in a religious movement.

    The problem is that many people are doubtful about the alarmism, the extremism, the religious like belief by people like you who do not understand, the fact that scepticism has been shut down so there is a perception that ‘The Science’ is not real science because it hasn’t been subjected to the proper scientific process, the corruption by $100 billion of policy driven funding funnelled to find evidence to support the religion. People are concerned about all this. They will not be persuaded by more repetition of the mantra.

    But what can be done is to allow solutions that will satisfy most people’s wants. Unfortunately, people like you are preventing that, just as the same sort of people with the same sort of religious like beliefs, alarmism and extremism did in the early 1990s and for the past 40 years.

    I realise this message will not get through to many.


  174. Greg Meyerson and Douglas Wise

    Regarding our past disagreements about the importance of free trade in improving the world in all ways, I agree with this article. This is the mainstream view of the main political parties in Australia and in most countries:

    DOHA round key to continuing global prosperity

    The relevance to cutting emissions is that most of the emissions avoidance has to take place in the under-developed and developing countries as they grow. We need to assist them to get electricity and to get clean electricity before they build fossil fuel electricity systems. To do that the developed countries need to make clean electricity cheap and available to the underdeveloped and developing countries. Otherwise they will use the cheapest electricity system available. We cannot protect ourselves with trade barriers. That will not reduce emissions, nor will it reduce world population. Economic prosperity in the underdeveloped and developing countries is what is needed to reduce the peak world population. Free trade will facilitate all this. We cannot hide behind barriers. We have to compete. We have to remove the many barriers to efficiency we have built into our western democracies. Free Trade is putting the competitive pressures on us to make us do this house cleaning we need to do.

    Removing the impediments to low cost nuclear power is just one of a very large number of efficency improvements we need to implement.


  175. Hello PL:

    I said little about trade one way or another over on the other thread. I was talking about your claim of continuous improvement, both with respect to poverty reduction and the reduction of inequality. You are wrong about the reduction of inequality if we are talking about class inequality–concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest one percent both nationally and internationally. if you are talking about the gap between richest countries and poorest countries, that’s, perhaps, a different story. I’d have to look that up. but with the u.s., given all the offshoring going on, it would not surprise me if median wage gaps between the U.S. and, say, Vietnam had narrowed, however humongous they would still be.

    on free trade, my sense is that many countries have grown very quickly by flouting the free trade mantra–China, Vietnam, Japan, etc. and that free trade is mostly an ideological term to beat up opponents on the one hand and to ignore whenever it suits the purposes of elites in powerful countries, who regularly engage in their own protectionism while castigating others for doing the same thing.

    is it not true that the world trade organization has rules on its books allowing corporations to sue countries for restraint of trade in the event that the country wishes to, say, tighten pollution regulations?

    when you talk of ft and competition, you see nothing but efficiency and innovation. I see the race to the bottom.

    there’s no doubt that FT and competition can promote a certain innovation and a certain efficiency, but the innovation is just as likely as not to be innovation in financial products instead of nuclear power plants. Innovations designed to “spread risk” but which ended up, in great part due to competitive frenzy over the innovative financial products, spreading toxins, at which point the wealthy, in the good free trade tradition, were bailed out and had to be bailed out I suspect to avoid collapse.

    the last time we spoke about the FC, you wanted to blame it on the community reinvestment act of 1977.

    The U.S. govt, hardly a left wing organization, just finished its long report on the financial crisis. It addressed the CRA claim made uniformly among the right wing.

    “The Angelides commission examined this charge directly by looking at the facts. It concluded that government housing policy was only a minor contributor to the crisis.

    To the charge that the CRA is to blame, the commission found that only 6% of subprime mortgages had any relation to the CRA. Loans offered by lenders not covered by the CRA were twice as likely to default. (from Marketwatch, another communist organization, 1/27/11, Rex Nutting).”

    At any rate, I don’t have much of a stake in the FT/protectionism debate. I want the majority of the world’s people to have rewarding work in sustainable economies. and I’ll admit I have no real idea what to do to get there. Except it ain’t by “free trade,” profit maximization and crisis ridden growth.


  176. Peter L:

    here is a graph of gini coefficients for a pile of countries. It is not quite up to date but close.

    what it shows clearly contrasts with what you and your factless, clearly non-cherry picked article (smiley face) assert above.

    The country that has made the most “progress” in reducing its gc is france, hardly your free market model. but since your model is constantly subject to crises, so is France so I would not be surprised to see its gini jump back up in other direction after another one of those crises that your people blame on anything but “free” markets:

    property market led nordic and japanese bank crises (1990-2)

    Peso crisis (94-5)

    Asian currency crisis (97-8)

    LTCM bailout–98

    98-2001: capital flight crisis in Russia (98); Brazil (99); Argentina (2001).

    2001-2: dot com bubble and stock market crash.

    2007-10: property led crises in U.S. U.K Ireland Spain, etc.

    BTW, the U.S. GC is higher now than it was in 1929:

    now there’s Continuous Improvement.

    Your Cherry Picking net pal:



  177. Greg meyerson

    I said little about trade one way or another over on the other thread.

    I may have the wrong person but I remember you (I think) arguing strongly against free trade and pointing out how bad it was for Mexico and blaming much of Mexico’s problems on NAFTA.

    when you talk of ft and competition, you see nothing but efficiency and innovation. I see the race to the bottom.

    That’s just plain silly. Look how all the human development index measures are improving. Of course the world is improving: life expectancy, health, education, freedom to choose what they want to be and do with their lives, communications. Your whole argument is so silly it is unbelievable.

    As for all your comments about Asian crises etc, what a lot of cherry picked data that is. And how irrelevant. It is not compared with anything. Do you think people were better off a hundred years ago or during the Little Ice Age?

    Look again at the GapMinder charts of UN stats. Change the axes to plot a selection of the HDI metrics against GDP and look at how they change over time (run ‘Play’ or move the scroll bar at the bottom of the chart). (Google GapMinder to get to the charts.)

    No one but a very hard Leftie could argue that the world is worse off now than 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 years ago. It is unbelievable you could think this.


  178. After the positive statements about renewing the debate on nuclear power by Anna Bligh and Colin Barnett I wrote a letter of support to both of them plus a copy to Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.

    On Friday I received a response from Colin Barnett which in part said “Environmental matters and the risks posed by climate change are important issues for Australia and the world and the Liberal National Government is committed to acting on this matter in accordance with a national approach. It is now time to take the next step and we, as a nation, need to begin addressing the issues around the planning and use of nuclear power.”

    I thought this was encouraging as previous letters on this subject were met with a negative response.


  179. No one but a very hard Leftie could argue that the world is worse off now than 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 years ago. It is unbelievable you could think this.

    well peter: I didn’t say this anywhere, nor did I imply it.

    the article you linked on DOHA made the claim that the gap between rich and poor had narrowed between 1950 and the present.

    I sent you a gini coefficient graph which shows this not to be true.

    one of my points about regular crises is that during these periods, health indices can go backwards, poverty rates rise, etc. latin america went backwards in the eighties compared to the sixties and seventies: not just in inequality metrics but the other metrics you mention. I was questioning the easy inevitability in your assumptions.

    as for the next 20 years, I share Chris Martenson’s view that the next 20 years may not be like the last 20 years.

    thanks, btw, for those links on the other thread. there’s a lot there but I will read the stuff.


  180. Greg Meyerson,

    one of my points about regular crises is that during these periods, health indices can go backwards, poverty rates rise, etc. latin america went backwards in the eighties compared to the sixties and seventies: not just in inequality metrics but the other metrics you mention. I was questioning the easy inevitability in your assumptions.

    Are you saying that such events occurred less often and less severely in the past, before capitalism, before globalisation and in the days when we had protectionist trade policies and trade barriers?.

    Are you saying that these events are less severe or less less frequent in a socialist system?

    Are you saying that we should trust to politicians, bureaucrats and regulators to do better?

    From all I’ve seen the evidence is strongly to the contrary of what you believe.

    Until you can demonstrate that the world is getting worse off in all or many of the UNDP HDI metrics over the past 20, 50, 100 years etc, then I really am not interested in taking this any further.

    Only a fringe of Left economists would argue what you are arguing. It is not mainstream thinking and there is no way Australia will reverse its reforms of the past 30 years, nor even change direction. So the discussion is irrelevant. It simply won’t happen.

    This article in today’s “Australian” is relevant and explains what is happening in Australia regarding macro and micro economic reforms especially privatising the electricity industry and the problems that public ownership has caused us:

    The Power Shocks to Come
    NSW’s woes highlight need for a proper national electricity grid and full privatisation

    I trust you can join the dots between what this article says and what I’ve been saying to you and Douglas Wise for over a year.


  181. folks:

    useful site for the radiation scare debates.

    it is a list of specific activities.

    U 238 for example is 3.3 E -7. that means .00000033 of 1 curie, which turns out to be 12,200 disintegrations per second per gram.

    it’s useful, at least for people like me.

    peter: the world has gotten better on these health metrics, we agree. on average, since 1900, etc. but poverty rates are gigantic as are many gini coefficients.

    attributing this improvement to “free trade” is quite a stretch. Japanese women live to be 85 on avg. is this due to free trade? sweden’s gini coefficient is much lower than the u.s. GC, and their literacy rate and life expectancy is higher. Free trade again I suppose.


  182. Tom Bond,

    Thank you for the link:

    Without low cost electricity, this society could not exist in its present form. Low cost energy is the key to transforming ….

    “Low cost energy is the key to transforming …” the underdeveloped, developing and developed world to low emission, environmentally benign energy supply. Putting a price on carbon will not do that. It is the wrong policy. How often do we need to say it?

    In Australia, we experiment with high cost solar and other renewables to try and achieve sustainability, while many parts of the world are full steam ahead living the low cost energy dream where long term sustainability is not yet a priority.

    Yes. And next we are about to implement a carbon price, exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. Another bad policy. Another symbolic gesture to add to the many we’ve already tried, e.g.:

    • Wind power
    • Solar power
    • Geothermal
    • Carbon Capture and Storage
    • Pink Bats home insulation program
    • Cash for clunkers car buy back

    In fact we’ve committed $10 billion in just three years to these symbolic gesture programs, plus very large costs imposed on consumers by the Renewable Energy Targets and Renewable Energy Certificate programs plus another $3.5 billion to the car industry in part to get them to build hybrids, electric vehicles and other energy efficient cars in Australia.

    Can we not see that the carbon price is just one more of these silly symbolic gestures? How can a carbon price significantly cut emissions without low cost nuclear? Clearly, we need to tackle the problem ofd the impediments to low cost nuclear as the first step.


  183. Climatre Spectator is back to deleting comments again. This time, I supect the reason was because I referred to BraveNewClimate for more information. I don’t have a copy of my original excellent post, but here is my short replacement comment:

    I posted a comment pointing out that the heat in the rock mass is diffuse and cannot be extracted easily. I also posted this link to support the statement.

    Click to access art4.pdf

    Once again, it seems, the Climate Spectator moderator does not want people to know about the problems with renewable energy.

    Please reinstate my comment, or explain what was wrtong with it.


  184. I’ll post the comment by Stephen Short on Climate Spectator in case some cant’ access it.

    This is rubbish.(1) Government regulations can’t ‘control’ anything. They just state the regulatory position. (2) I was not referring to the downwind spent steam plumes at all. Mobilization of U and IF NOT U, then certainly 226Ra and recoil 222Rn in the upcoming superheated water will deposit daughter nuclides of 22Rn i.e. 210Po and 210 Pb onto the interior of the primary heat exchanger. This phenomenon is even well known in some Bass Strait onshore gas processing plant. So I was referring to an accumulating gamma dose rate from the plant itself.
    (3) It is true that at the beginning of exploitation of a hot rock resource it is the insoluble U(IV) state which is it orginal laid down state. But this oxidation state is only maintained in the recirculation fluid so long as there is a ‘pool’ of reductants such as recirculating dissolved hydrogen and CH4 (methane) and/or sulfides, Fe(II) etc in the rock mass. Eventually these become depleted. As there is inevitably some loss of recirculating fluid there has to be makeup (toether with reductant). This requres dosing of hydrazine etc. This is not always effective. The U concentration in all geothermal power field fluids have always risen with increasing age of the field.


  185. PL at one stage Geodynamics issued a paper explaining that all the steam/froth and associated radon from the granite would be looped rather than vented. Apart from anything else top-up water would be hard to come by in the Simpson Desert. Funny how some greenies think radioactive decay is OK but fission is not. The small geothermal generator at Birdsville Qld uses once-through artesian water just under 100C and makes no attempt to re-inject it underground.

    Changing topics I see Adelaide was 42.5C or 108F yesterday in a supposedly cool year. No doubt AEMO will report the grid contribution from the State’s ~900 MW nameplate wind power. What happens in a really hot year? Their utility company ETSA wants to bring in radio controllers for air cons to prevent overload. Maybe that will happen sooner or later. Hint to Adelaide people; you have the world’s largest uranium deposit out the back.


  186. I enclose a few links on news items and summaries which some readers here may have missed, but which I think are relevant to past discussions.

    The author suggests that the regulatory changes in the US unnecessarily increased nuclear construction costs by a factor of four. NB Peter Lang.

    Three days later, it was announced that the NRC had finally agreed to license the AP 1000, an encouraging development :

    There is a good up-to-date summary of the pros and cons of molten salt reactors (plus cites) here:

    There are also two announcements relating to the Chinese adopting this technology:


  187. AEMO has just released a new report on projected capital and generation cost for new entrant technologies. The costs are for new entrants being added to the NEM. However, guess what? Nuclear is not one of the 41 new technologies included in the report!

    This new report replaces the ACIL Tasman report which had been archived but has now been reinstated (today).

    Here is the new report:

    Click to access 0419-0017.pdf

    Here is the ACIL Tasman report (reinstated to its original URL (thank you to AEMO for doing this):

    Click to access 419-0035.pdf


  188. Barry,

    There is steadily building stream of these sorts of comments by senior figures in the Australian Labor Party. I believe it is now inevitable that Labor will change its policy this year. It will dump its anti-nuclear policy.

    But how will they wrap their replacement policy, given they will have to appease the powerful Left faction within the Party and the Greens with whom they are in an Alliance for Government?

    This is the really important issue, they and us, have to deal with. And time is running out. The longer we go the more their replacement policy will be set in stone. The Labor Left faction and the Greens will be doing all they can to ensure the replacement policy locks in high cost nuclear for Australia. They will be arguing for the replacement policy insisting on “world best practice” on safety and proliferation and waste disposal. Once they achieve words like that then we will inevitably get watch dogs that the Left and Greens will be able to influence – just like what happened to Canada when the Atomic Energy Control Board was replaced with the “…. Safety …” thingy.

    Those who have been around for a while and seen all this before can envisage very well the lobbying, trade offs and power plays going on behind the scenes.

    If we don want to get a replacement policy that locks in high cost nuclear (which means nuclear will be rolled out more slowly), then we really do need to be doing what ever we can to raise awareness of this issue.

    Nuclear will be supported by both major parties this year. Trying to convince them is not where we need to focus now. We need to focus on ensuring we are not locked into the two major parties defining their difference over who can make it safest. We want them to differentiate their policies on the basis of which can offer policies that will implement nuclear in Australia fastest and at lowest cost of electricity.


  189. Ferguson has given around $300m to the geothermal industry but so far has nothing to show for it. If the ACIL Tasman report lands on his desk I think he might be taking a black texta colour to parts of it. It beats me how they can know the cost of something that clearly has major bugs still to be worked out, if ever.


  190. Labor minister backs nuclear energy

    of particular interest:

    An update by the federal government’s top climate change adviser Professor Ross Garnaut released on Thursday said there was evidence overseas that the cost of nuclear power was falling.

    Prof Garnaut said his assumptions of the cost of nuclear power in his landmark 2008 climate change report were outdated.

    “There is anecdotal evidence that the switch from batch to continuing production of nuclear power stations in China has reduced the costs of new nuclear power capacity more rapidly than had been assumed in the 2008 models, or expected in China itself,” Prof Garnaut said in his update.


  191. Tom,
    @ 5 February 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Thank you for the link to “Labor minister backs nuclear energy”. It is clear that the wall is coming down. Labor will dump its anti-nuclear policy this year. The question now is what will replace it? Will their policy lock in high-cost nuclear or will they be sufficently bold to set us on a path to low-cost nculear?


  192. The Economist hosted a debate on natural gas vs renewables, the resolution being “that natural gas will do more than renewables to limit the world’s carbon emissions.” A link via one of the contributors is here.

    Of course, as many here will know, there is a third way…


  193. Question for Luke, G. Cowan, DV:

    I recall something discussed on this site about the radioactivity of CANDU reactors relative to LWRs, that CANDUs are significantly less radioactive.

    On p. 75 of Whole Earth Discipline, Brand cites Canada’s “adaptive phased management plan,” which states that after 175 years (the outer limit of “near term” storage), “the overall radioactivity of used fuel drops to one billionth of the level when it was removed from the reactors.”

    Does this decline hold true for LWRs?


  194. Gregory Meyerson – First, because CANDUs use unenriched uranium for fuel, and because the reactor burns that fuel very efficiently, discharged used fuel becomes less radioactive faster than LWR used fuel.

    In fact used fuel from LWR can be re-burned without secondary treatment in a CANDU, beyond making new, compliant bundles that fit the CANDU’s geometry.


  195. Gregory Meyerson, I looked at a sampling of an ORIGEN2 run provided by Kirk Sorensen for PWR fuel that had run at 39 megawatts per tonne U for 1000 days. After 176.76 years it was down to 215.27 watts per tonne.

    The ORIGEN run began at 1.1 days after final shutdown, so for the time immediately after shutdown, we have to fall back on the 7 percent rule-of-thumb: 0.07 * 39 MWt/tonne = 2.73 MW/tonne.

    So 215.27 W is more like 0.0001, not 10^(-9).


  196. I can’t imagine how the composition of the fission products produced in a PHWR is really different to the composition of the fission products produced in a LWR, so (until someone can explain it to me) I’m skeptical of the idea that the radioactivity in the used fuel decays away faster in CANDU fuel.

    2^10 is approximately 1000, so 2^-30 is approximately one billionth. So, for the radioactivity of the fuel to drop to “one billionth of the level when it was removed from the reactors”, we need to wait 30 half-lives, approximately.

    If we just assume, for the sake of simplicity, we’re looking at Cs-137, we have a half-life of 30 years, we need 900 years for the radioactivity to reach one-billionth of the original level.

    So, to be honest, I’m skeptical about what Brand is saying in the book.

    That said, however, requiring a decay factor of one-billionth is seriously overkill.


  197. yeah:

    didn’t sound right to me either. I’ll check his footnote.

    he’s presumably citing an official govt. agency of some sort.

    215.27 W is about .00008. pretty fair amount of decay, but no .000000001.

    jesus, there’s a lot of hype in these discussions.


  198. High neutron economy allows CANDU reactors to extract up to twice as much thermal energy from fissile material compared to LWR reactors. In CANDU reactors, the spent fuel contains depleted uranium on par with the tails from enrichment plants (~0.2%) which is why there no economic reason to reprocess spent CANDU fuel. Self-generated plutonium is also dilute in spent CANDU fuel, typically 2.6 g fissile Pu/initial kg U. The plutonium in LWR spent fuel is roughly twice that concentration.

    Long-term radioactivity is primarily determined by burnup, thus the higher burnup of CANDU fuel translates to significantly lower the time it takes the spent fuel to decay.



    Brand’s notes indicate that the quote from his text can be found on p. 159 of study cited above:

    Here is the quote: “During a 175-year period, the overall radioactivity of used fuel drops to about one-hundred thousandth of the level it was when
    removed from the reactors, but still poses a significant long-term hazard.”

    [p. 160 in the pdf file]

    !!!!! Brand says “one-billionth.”

    So there are many mistakes to be made in this discussion and perhaps bullshitters on both sides.


  200. In this case I would assume that Brand made a simple mistake. The Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization, is a creature of the 2002 federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, and as such is responsible to the Government of Canada for anything it publishes. Thus I would take their word on the matter at face value.


  201. Maybe, DV, but brand not only missed the correct number by a factor of ten million; he also put a period where there was in fact a comma followed by “but still poses a significant long-term hazard.”

    I’ve seen this sort of mistake coming from the other side. The consequence of this mistake is not great, but it still angers me to see this.


  202. not been following upwards

    open topic, so thats ok I hope ->

    Diesendorf’s submission to the Senate Inquiry (Sub 204)

    The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms ->

    Has many references to wind industry sources rather than scientific research.

    e.g. in

    3. Specific fallacies
    3.1 Fallacy: Bird kills are generally a serious problem.

    his Ref 6

    is this ->

    6 Australian Wind Energy Association, Wind farms and Bird and Bat Impacts.

    which is a dead link, long dead.

    I found the document here ->

    Click to access 8BirdBatImpact.pdf

    The most recent date I could spot in the “fact sheet” was Oct 2003.

    Hardly up to date.

    The developer Synergy Wind ->

    has a typical not very updated website, “Breaking news” section is laughably dated ->

    24.06.2010 — “Renewable energy (electricity) Amendment Bill 2010 was passed by the Parliament”

    Synergy Wind’s “Recent news at Synergy Wind” is ->

    18.10.2010 — Wind energy industry outlook for Australia (German article)

    They seem to developing Wonthaggi St Clair Wind Farm (and 3 others wind farms are listed on their site)

    St Clair Wind Farm

    This wind farm site lies 5 km east of the existing Wind farm “Wonthaggi” (6 x Repower MM82). Wind measurements were recorded from May 1998 to March 2004 at 63m and 40m height. A 66KV power line crosses the site. A transformer station is located 3km to the west. Victoria’s largest desalination plant will be built at Wonthaggi will be powered entirely by renewable energy.

    Project size: up to 30 MW
    Average wind speed approx. 8 m/s

    Great grammar in the last sentence on desal. Also is it me or is it misguided (misinformation?) that a desalination plant could be “powered entirely” by the output of a few wind turbines. Is this true ? Will the desalination plant require NO other source than those wind turbines? I dont think so, but perhaps someone could elaborate?

    St Clair wind farm is yet another example example of build rates that demonstrate those supplied in BZE’s Zero Carbon Australia 2020 report are wrong.

    Being generous, say it took a few months of negotiations to secure the lease to put up the monitoring tower lets say the project started Jan 1998.

    Its now Feb 2011 and it still hasn’t been built.

    On the website at Synergy they have only posted the Draft Development App, so I assume it has yet to go to the Environmental Assessment stage (I have not checked the planning website).

    Click to access StClairWindfarmprojectSiteAnalysisDesign.pdf

    So add on a bit more time to get this 30MW online, that would probably nudge it to 15 years.


  203. Meant to add, the main page of the wind farm Senate Inquiry with terms of reference is here ->

    The social and economic impacts of rural wind farms, and in particular:

    (a) Any adverse health effects for people living in close proximity to wind farms;

    (b) Concerns over the excessive noise and vibrations emitted by wind farms, which are in close proximity to people’s homes;

    (c) The impact of rural wind farms on property values, employment opportunities and farm income;

    (d) The interface between Commonwealth, state and local planning laws as they pertain to wind farms; and

    (e) Any other relevant matters.

    The reporting date is 30 April 2011.


  204. bryen there is no way that new Victorian wind farms purpose built to ‘offset’ the Wonthaggi desal can be CO2 neutral. Without new wind the brown coal dominated Vic grid could average something like 1.2 tCO2 per Mwh. Using UK data wind displaces about 0.4 tCO2 per Mwh therefore we want 3 delivered units of new wind to displace every old system unit. But wind itself may only have 25% capacity factor so we really want 3/.25 or 12 times as much windpower nameplate to achieve CO2 neutrality.

    I understand the Wonthaggi desal will draw about 100 MW at full tilt in a dry year. Thus Victoria will need about 1,200 MW of new nameplate windpower to achieve CO2 neutrality just for this one plant.


  205. John Newlands :

    Thanks, thats what I thought. The same with Capital wind farm in Canberra & the desal in Sydney. I was just making sure, as I’m not familiar with that project, that someone had’nt suddenly invented some large scale wind storage… :)

    How about this one from Diesendorf’s sub p11/12:

    4.4 Wind power can substitute for coal power

    ….. For example, 2700 MW of wind turbines may have an
    average power output of about 850 megawatts, which is about the same as the average power output of a 1000 MW coal-fired power station. Therefore, such a power station could be retired at the end of its operating life (or never installed in the first place) and replaced with 2700 MW of wind power, which would generate the same annual average quantity of



    This is a submission to a Senate Inquiry. Anyone here agree with those statements ??? I dont.

    At the last Inquiry, NSW 2009 on wind farms, he trotted the same stuff out, and they believed him! The reset of us on the other hand were labelled as confused or mis-informed by the committee report…. I hope the outcome of this Senate Inquiry will be better than 2009.


  206. Bryen,

    You quoted Diesendorf’s submission to the Senate enquiry as saying:

    4.4 Wind power can substitute for coal power

    ….. For example, 2700 MW of wind turbines may have an average power output of about 850 megawatts, which is about the same as the average power output of a 1000 MW coal-fired power station. Therefore, such a power station could be retired at the end of its operating life (or never installed in the first place) and replaced with 2700 MW of wind power, which would generate the same annual average quantity of electricity.

    Such a statement demonstrates desparation. Diesendorf would know this is not true. It would seem he is intentionally misleading the senators.

    Is there no end to the dishonesty that renewable energy advocates will go to to push their beliefs. This dishonest, over-the top, advocacy reflects more widely than just renewable energy believers.


  207. The PM has said there will be a fixed carbon price starting 1/7/12 followed by an ETS in 2015

    If I recall the Rudd govt was elected in 2007 on a promise to begin an ETS in 2009, later postponed then cancelled. However there seems to be little detail on the Gillard scheme
    – initially $x per tonne of CO2. What is x?
    – is petrol included?
    – can big users deduct carbon credits?
    – will PAYE tax and pensions be adjusted?
    – is it additional to RET?

    Apparently generators and big power users like aluminium smelters will be compensated. What is the purpose of that compo? Maybe it is to fund a switch in technologies such as combined cycle gas instead of coal. Or maybe they can exit the industry and leave the money in the bank.

    We need a lot more detail on the net costs and avowed aims of the compensation. However I believe even a measly $10 per tonne sends a clear signal that big emitters are on notice and the future may be tough.


  208. John Newlands,

    However I believe even a measly $10 per tonne sends a clear signal that big emitters are on notice and the future may be tough.

    I see it differently. Emitters will pass on the price increase. The Australian mentioned today that the initial carbon tax is expected to be $20/t and it will increase at 4% pa (real); ie 4% plus inflation so about 7% pa.

    That is on top of the other increases coming through caused by 20 years of government interventions and never ending policy and regulatory changes.

    $20/t amounts to about a 50% increase in wholesale prices and abouit 25% increase in retail prices.

    It will entrench gas generation, so the costs will increase by probably another 100% over a relatively short period due to the increasing gas prices.

    And what is all this for. It will do squat all to cut world emissions and squat all to change the climate. It is a symbolic gesture to appease those who can’t think clearly.

    I post this again and urge readers attempt to understand it:


  209. Clarrification:
    “$20/t amounts to about a 50% increase in wholesale prices and abouit 25% increase in retail prices.

    That statemet refers to electricty generated from coal. Coal’s contribution is about 80%, so the figure for the whole system would be around 90% of the figures quoted above (very roughly, of course).


  210. They say everyone talks about the weather, but no-one does anything about it. Well, someone is.

    More details on “Big Ideas” sampler show: I will be on for 1 full hr on Sat 5 hours ago

    Watch me on ABC TV’s “Big Ideas” show, next Tuesday 15 February at 11am, details here:

    One hour of intelligent interrogation is a great communication opportunity, Barry. This is a good gig.


  211. (Australian) pollie watch. ALP Senator for South Australia Annette Hurley in the Senate on 9 February:

    Finally, I want to talk further about the proposed carbon tax and what we are going to do about the climate change debate. I was very pleased to hear the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, talk this morning on television in very practical terms about reducing pollution and making our industries more carbon efficient. I just want to mention a quote by James Fallows in the Atlantic, December 2010, in an article entitled ‘Dirty coal, clean future’. He said:

    “Overall, coal-burning power plants provide nearly half (about 46 percent this year) of the electricity consumed in the United States. For the record: natural gas supplies another 23 percent, nuclear power about 20 percent, hydroelectric power about 7 percent, and everything else the remaining 4 or 5 percent. The small size of the “everything else” total is worth noting; even if it doubles or triples, the solutions we often hear the most about won’t come close to meeting total demand. In China, coal-fired plants supply an even larger share of much faster-growing total electric demand: at least 70 percent …”

    In short, coal is here to stay. Although we will put a lot of effort into alternative power sources, we need to face the fact that we need baseload power. We need coal and we may well need nuclear power in the future. I think that, more and more, we should concentrate on how that is going to work—looking at not only other forms of renewable power but how coal and nuclear power are going to continue.

    Now that Ferguson has well and truly come out and laid his cards on the table, it will be interesting to see how many more ALP MPs will now feel emboldened to follow suit.


  212. Then in the same debate, Liberal Senator for Queensland Sue Boyce:

    I thank Senator Hurley for her suggestion that nuclear energy is an issue that must be addressed and properly assessed and properly debated by this house. This is not a view that is shared, I know, by a lot of her colleagues but, if we are to go to a low emissions, energy efficient future, nuclear energy must be on the list. More and more of the research that is becoming available suggests that this can now be done, given rising power prices, at comparable cost to the ongoing use of coal….


  213. Mark Duffet,

    There is certainly a change in the air :)

    There is no way we would ahve seen so many positive references to nuclear even a year ago, let alone before the Howard commissioned UMPNE report (chaired by Ziggy Switkowski) hit the streets in December 2006.


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