Monday, September 30, 2019

Greta Thunberg and Ponder the Maunder

This was cute:

The point I just want to add is that I don't recall anything like the same vitriol, and none of the expressed desire to slap her or spank her, against that Ponder the Maunder girl from years back, a teenager whose father convinced her that she had refuted all of climate science. My recollection is that girl eventually reached the point in college where Greta is right now, telling people to listen to scientists (can't seem to find a link tho).

Just another indication of who's arguing based on reason and who's relying on emotion.


Canman said...

If she wants to be on the world stage, she should be prepared to take some criticism. I have some criticism for her. How about commenting on nuclear power? For that matter, why doesn't Michael Mann comment on nuclear power?

Answer: A large portion of their audiences are anti=nuclear zealots. They both know where their bread is buttered.

jgnfld said...

Or, possibly, Mann doesn't consider himself a nuclear power expert and wants to speak with expertise rather than fuzzy knowledge and facts? Naahhh. Couldn't be that.


Where would the Life of Brian be without the second coming ?

Miss Thunberg's href="" was last year.

Brian Schmidt said...

For once I at least partly agree with Canman that Greta should be prepared to be criticized, with the point of the video being that the vapid anger demonstrated by these men against her doesn't constitute valid criticism.

Re nuclear power:

1. I agree that some of the opposition to nukes is emotionally-based (as is the fervent support in some cases).

2. I understand why people focusing on political action may choose to be silent on nuclear power rather than get in a civil war over it (note this assumes these people don't think it's a silver bullet).

3. I'm curious how many people fit in my category: I care a great deal about climate change and don't have a strong feeling one way or another about nuclear power after examining the issue. I suspect we're a small but growing group.

Canman said...

Mike Shellenberger tweet:

"If you are going to moralize and lecture the world about climate change then you have a moral duty to learn the basics of energy and the environment starting with the basic physics of why low energy-density fuels MUST have larger environmental impacts"

Old_salt said...

Of course, any energy source large enough to provide a significant fraction of global power demand will have significant environmental impacts. Nothing is free--look at hydropower. The point is that fossil fuel power production has driven the world into an unacceptable environmental space, and more fossil fuel use will make the problem worse.

You will have to prove that low energy density sources have higher environmental impacts than fossil fuel use. I doubt it.

Canman said...

The biggest issue on climate policy is whether to build nuclear plants. The only other CO2 free source at a large enough scale is wind and solar and it's not even clear if they are doable, much less practical or desirable. France got up to 80% electricity production with nuclear. The widely touted Germans, with their metaphorical rocket scientists, are ditching nuclear and, supposedly, are going all in with wind and solar. What have they accomplished?

"Despite much hype, Germany still generates just 35% of its electricity from renewables. And if biomass burning, often dirtier than coal, is excluded, wind, water and solar electricity in Germany accounted for just 27% of electricity generation in 2018.

But McKinsey issues its strongest warning when it comes to Germany's increasingly insecure energy supply due to its heavy reliance on intermittent solar and wind. For three days in June 2019, the electricity grid came close to black-outs. "Only short-term imports from neighboring countries were able to stabilize the grid," the consultancy notes."

If you're worried about climate or energy, this is something you can't ignore if you want to be taken seriously.

Canman said...

According to IEA, wind and solar were just 8% of just electricity generation for the world in 2018.

Ramping them up to anything significant, will have huge environmental effects. And the higher that percent becomes, the bigger the intermittency problem becomes. Solutions, like batteries, also have large environmental footprints.

Canman said...

What would this Greta hotline have to say to Tony Sinclaire?

Canman said...

What are the anti-nuclear sides arguments? They are probably best represented by Mark Jacobson. He's been tweeting a lot about how nuclear is an opportunity cost, because you have to wait ten to twenty years or so for plants to get built and start generating electricity. Example:

He has a 139 country road-map/plan for 100% Wind/Water/Sun power. It includes (page 112) a million offshore wind turbines, a million and a half onshore wind turbines, a quarter million solar PV plants and 21,000 concentrating solar plants. Of these, the only significant percentage that's already installed is 5% of onshore wind.

If you're anti-nuclear and you want to go zero carbon, somenething like this is what you're supporting!

Canman said...

That Jacobson study is from two years ago, so that 5% of onshore wind already installed, might be up to 6% or 7%.

nowadaysclancycantevensing said...

Vogtle 3&4 Georgia USA is on track to cost $35 Billion just to build.

Even tho it's energy companies that own it, every US taxpayer will pay a part of at least $8 Billion of that. That is guaranteed by Federal Law. You're a taxpayer in Alaska, you will pay for your share of Ga's energy build.

And the companies that are building it are guaranteed a profit no matter what happens with it. Taxpayers again.

Then there are all the other numerous problems nuclear has all down the line that cost billions of dollars to fix, all again in the future.

Nuclear power plants also take up huge amounts of environmental space. How many thousands of nuclear plants do propose will be needed worldwide?

Do the maths. At $35 Billion '2021' cost each, which is an ever expanding cost of just building them - Hinckley C is 6 years at least from completion and already at $26 Billion w estimates at $50 Billion end cost, where do you get the capital for such an investment?

$35 Trillion in 2021 money costs for 1000 new nuclear plants is more than 40% of the 2018 World GDP.


Fernando Leanme said...

I think Greta Thunberg is an abused teenager. Therefore the criticism should be directed at her parents and the adults who enable and support such abuse.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

C: France got up to 80% electricity production with nuclear.

BPL: And now it's down to 75%, and they're planning to reduce it further. Go research why.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

FL: I think Greta Thunberg is an abused teenager.

BPL: I think you're a fatuous ass. I wonder which of us is more accurate?

Layzej said...

I've been showing my kids snippets of Greta interviews. It's amazing what she's accomplished. She's a fantastic role model.

She started a global movement of kids standing up for their futures. These are the very folks who stand to lose the most to global climate change. It's bizarre to suggest that we should ignore the generation that will bear the brunt of the impacts.

izen said...

The advantages of nuclear power is that a very large multi-reactor facility can be built that can provide Giga-Watts continuously.

The disadvantages of nuclear power is that it is only marginally economic if you build a very large multi-reactor facility can be built that can provide Giga-Watts continuously.
Projects of that size require significant government financial support.
Projects of that size take several years before they are operational.
Nuclear generation lacks flexibility, it is both uneconomic and practically difficult to ramp generation up and down in response to intermittent and variable demand.
Nuclear generation creates large plant with significant security concerns if terrorism or public protest targets those sites.
Nuclear generation requires significant government oversight and regulation to ensure safe operation and long-term stability if market forces or business takeovers threaten the viability, safety, or function of the generating facilities.

Nuclear generation fits best with governments with a strong authoritarian model of central economic planning and which can garantee long-term stability of the regulatory framework and economics of power generation.
These charateristics, authoritarian and long-term stability, are not historically correlated.

While 'eco-nazis' may oppose nuclear power, the enthusiasm on the neoliberal side would seem to be dependent on who is running it. The reluctance shown by some to allow Iran to develop any nuclear power is a case in point. It also appears to require a degree of government oversight and regulation that is usually rejected by the same factions who seem to support it as an alternative to the much more ideologically appropriate option of small scale or even individual generation.

izen said...

The sudden prominence of Greta Thunberg is not a random accident.
Western media has chosen her as the acceptable face for the discussion of climate change. It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that a cute, white 16yr old female with limited knowledge or experience of the science and socio-political aspects of the subject is for many reasons considered more media friendly and socially acceptable than the scientists and politicians more directly involved.

People, events, ideas. That is the hierarchy of modern media preference, Greta Thunberg may be a victim/beneficiary of that, I remain unconvinced that a serious public discussion of climate change is advanced by that choice.

Canman said...

Nuclear plans are expensive, if your only going to build a few of them. Costs would construction costs would clearly come down if production were scaled up, just like with wind turbines, solar panels and everything else.

So are you guys cool with a quarter million PV plants (and that does not include higher cost solar roofs), a twenty fold increase in onshore wind turbines, 21,000 bird roasting CSP's, a million offshore wind turbines and megatons of other stuff that's NOT been demonstrated at scale?

Canman said...

Izen: "Nuclear generation lacks flexibility, ..."

So do renewables! In fact, they're even worse than inflexible -- they're erratic!

Old_salt said...

Canman is probably too young to remember the debacle of WPPS (Washington Public Power Supply, pronounced "whoops"). WPPS started to build 5 power plants, to provide a predicted doubling of power over a decade back in the 1970's.

There were huge cost overruns, and only 1 plant eventually was built, although the public ended up paying for all the construction:

This is a common theme with nuclear, like the $9B South Carolina rate payers will have to cover for another unfinished nuclear plant:

Layzej said...

Here's Canada's "This hour has 22 minutes" take:

izen said...

@-canman - on renewables;
"In fact, they're even worse than inflexible -- they're erratic!"

But predictable. hours and intensity of sunlight and wind can be predicted several days ahead.
When PV or wind turbines are not generating they cost zero to run
Nuclear plants are most efficient at ~90% generating capacity, anything less and the cost of the power they generate vastly increases. They always need a workforce for oversight, maintenance and operation. This is why France runs its nuclear plants continuously, is the largest exporter of 'green' power and often drives the market cost of electricity to near zero because it is cheaper than shutting them down and ramping them up to meet demand.

Ken Fabian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Fabian said...

Greta Thunberg - "Personally I am against nuclear power, but according to the IPCC [the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change], it can be a small part of a very big new carbon free energy solution, especially in countries and areas that lack the possibility of a full scale renewable energy supply - even though it's extremely dangerous, expensive and time consuming. But let’s leave that debate until we start looking at the full picture." (my bold)

I think it is clear that her principal message of policy consistent with the science is about that "full picture" and any personal views about what that policy is (ie prefering RE) are secondary. It is a very clear and compelling message - would that our world leaders could be so clear.

That her critics will focus on the bits they want to argue against (like her failure to see nuclear as a principal solution) looks like evidence on their unwillingness to focus on the unassailable logic and reasonableness of her principal message.

In the presence of world leaders showing sustained, real commitment to fixing the problem by whatever means - with and without nuclear - the anxiety about the future that drives her activism would not be so strong - and the world would never have heard of Greta Thunberg.

(reposted to edit out mistakes)

David B. Benson said...

For a low carbon dioxide net emissions future, nuclear power plants have some small role to play. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to read BNC Discussion Forum
where one may comment after registration --- this discourages spam.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

C: So are you guys cool with a quarter million PV plants (and that does not include higher cost solar roofs), a twenty fold increase in onshore wind turbines, 21,000 bird roasting CSP's, a million offshore wind turbines and megatons of other stuff that's NOT been demonstrated at scale?

BPL: Yes, and you can stuff the "bird-roasting" propaganda.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Izen: "Nuclear generation lacks flexibility, ..."

C: So do renewables! In fact, they're even worse than inflexible -- they're erratic!

BPL: It's a wonder, then, that they're being deployed so rapidly. You'd think no one would want to invest in such an erratic source.

David B. Benson said...

San Francisco bay as plastic waste repository:

Trillions of bits.

Nathan said...

In remote Western Australia solar does it all

It's horses for courses, of course.

Bernard J. said...

Canman says that Greta Thunberg should be "prepared to take some criticism."

Who said that she wasn't?


The problem this time round is less the Ponder the Maunder girl than Greta's Rehash of David Suzuki's Lass.

An unkind person has resurfaced the video of Miss Suzuki , age 12, reading her lines at the 1992 Rio Climqte Summit and intercut it with Greta's performance at her UN debut.

They overlap enough to earn Suzuki a nomination for Best Supportin Nobel Peace Prize Screenwiter.

Canman said...

An amazing debate in France over the Green New Deal from February. It includes three French participants and Michael Shellenberger. At twenty minutes in, after Shellengerger has explained how Germany's electricity is 50% higher than France's, but still ten times more carbon intensive, the moderator tries to counter that France faces big decommissioning costs. Shellenberger explains that it's included in the price of electricity and that solar pays no decommissioning costs for its two to three hundred times more waste. The moderator then asks an energy and transportation consultant if that's true, and he immediately ducks the question, goes off on a diatribe against coal, and says that in order to meet 100% renewables, we have to divide by two, three, four how we live!