Jay Inslee for President

Fire and flood do not discriminate, they only destroy. Drought does not choose between liberals and conservatives, it only kills crops. Hurricanes don’t target Christians or Moslems or Buddhists or Shintaoists or atheists, they only tear things apart and drown them in the sea.

Too many conservatives refuse to face the problem, and even those who recognize the threat still insist on their God-given right to a coal-fired pickup truck. Too many liberals blame the problem entirely on conservatives, when we too have spent our lifetimes driving cars and flying planes and developing this magnificent internet thing that eats up electricity like nobody ever expected, all the while complaining about climate change and getting nothing done.

What is far too rare is what is most needed: people who get to work on the problem. Make solar panels more efficient. Make ’em cheaper! Get the wind turbines deployed. Move the ball forward on battery efficiency and other energy storage technologies. WORK the problem, people! RESEARCH: full speed ahead. MANUFACTURING: full speed ahead. DEPLOYMENT: full speed ahead. When we do that, watch the ECONOMY and JOBS go full speed ahead. How can we make this happen?

LEADERSHIP: full speed ahead. Jay Inslee

90 responses to “Jay Inslee for President

  1. Wait a minute. Are you doing a false equivalency thing here? As in, we all do it?

    I can spend hours and hours on the internet and my carbon footprint for that activity is tiny compared to jumping in a turbo diesel 1 ton truck to go to the grocery store or golf course. Maybe rethink this approach or choose your examples carefully.

    Yes, we are all culpable to a certain degree for the CO2 accumulation, but those of us would never purchase a turbodiesel vehicle and would only travel by airplane in the most urgent circumstance (not the “I really need a vacation at a warm beach” type emergency) are qualitatively different in CO2 impact from anyone making the type of choices outlined above.

    fwiw, I think Inslee has been quite modest in his approach to the environment in WA state. He talks a good game, but take the case of the health of the Salish Sea (aka Puget Sound): Inslee has been playing the stakeholder game on making the Salish Sea more healthy instead of following the science. That allows him to avoid politically costly confrontations with the building industry, shellfish industry and timber industry where the bulk of Salish Sea damage originates. I think Inslee is an obama style democrat who will talk a good game and not produce significant results. Maybe he could be more effective than Obama because he’s a white guy with corporatist concerns and that might allow him to engage republicans, but I am not sure that is the case. He’s still a democrat and the civil war has not yet been settled, but he’s white so we won’t have endless theories about whether he’s a citizen, has faked his birth certificate, etc.

    I think there is a lot of reason to think that the next ten years are critical to our climate change response. We cannot afford to make an 8 year mistake on a middle way guy who is a good speaker. We need someone committed to real change. I am not sure who that is, but I don’t think it’s Inslee.



    [Response: You like the “Green New Deal”? An effort to fight climate change on the scale and with the ambition of a moon landing? Thank Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for highlight the idea that Jay Inslee proposed sixteen years ago.

    He has been on the forefront. No other candidate even comes close. You think he won’t produce results? Get the hell out of the way.]

  2. Martin Smith

    He has a website now: https://www.jayinslee.com/
    But it doesn’t say anything about all the other issues. He can’t run on climate change alone.

    [Response: Nor will he. But he can set himself apart on climate change alone. And he will make it #1.]

  3. He sounds convinced and convincing.

  4. The right wing or “conservative” side of politics must forfeit the label “conservative” and return it immediately to those who actually wish to conserve what is most precious to us all: the planet in a state fit for the sustainable survival of the ecosphere and humanity.

    For the right wing wishes to conserves nothing but the destructive exponential growth fantasy that is pushing us towards the destruction of the same.

    Let us reclaim the conservative lable and leave them to be called the “destructives”.

    • Saw a tweet recently: By definition, conservatives cannot come up with original ideas.
      While, I agree that today’s “conservatives” are not conservatives, but rather reactionaries, the label is so sullied, that despite not being a bombthrower, I would never associate myself with it.

  5. Martin Smith

    He has a website now: https://www.jayinslee.com/
    But it doesn’t say anything about all the other issues. He can’t run on climate change alone.

  6. Susan Anderson

    Saw Inslee on Maddow (I think) and fell for him hook line and sinker. But Warren is my first choice, though she too has little chance. She’s a very hot ticket on climate, though many don’t know it. She’s been a leader on all issues. But I would be delighted with Inslee, just think he’s too much of a gentleman, in an arena that does not reward quiet competence. I’m baffled that nobody realizes that Van Jones and Nancy Pelosi were working towards a Green New Deal (in all but name) during Bush II. Moving on, slightly OT …

    WRT our complicity in climate troubles, I was forced due to an extended exchange at Wunderground, where I sometimes hang out, to take a closer look at Jem Bendell’s challenging self-publication: https://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf

    Despite some dubious and disputed – and disputed is not the same thing as dubious – references I think we have all evolved from a time just two years ago when Benjamin Wallace-Wells was largely dismissed. The evidence is piling up. But I get why people have a problem with this, and the point I’d like to make, having been following this for a long time now, is different. We have become accustomed to protecting our luxuries, and we no longer regard it as a luxury to go to a supermarket to buy our food from halfway across the globe in a packet, without regard to how it is produced or how that hurts the small web of connections that used to constitute community. We no longer think it’s a problem to get a new phone or computer and not worry about toxic waste or exploitation. We no longer know who makes our stuff or if they suffer. I’m for a circular economy, and for becoming more aware of our waste and toxicity. But I am as guilty as most in the way I take my comforts for granted. Trump has got a lot more people taking part in creating community and paying attention, and that’s a good thing. But is it enough? This speaks for me:

    Unfortunately, the recent years of innovation, investment and patenting indicate how human ingenuity has increasingly been channeled into consumerism and financial engineering

    there are endless ways for people to be “doing something” without seriously confronting the reality of climate change.

    people often avoid voicing certain thoughts when they go against the social norm around them and/or their social identity. Especially in situations of shared powerlessness, it can be perceived as safer to hide one’s views and do nothing if it goes against the status quo.

    our interests in civility, praise and belonging within a professional community can censor …

    one journalist who asked children from 6 to 12 years old to paint what they expect the world in 50 years to be like generated mostly apocalyptic images (Banos Ruiz, 2017). This evidence suggests that the idea we “experts” need to be careful about what to tell “them” the “unsupported public” may be a narcissistic delusion in need of immediate remedy.

    Emotional difficulties with realizing the tragedy that is coming, and that is in many ways upon us already, are understandable.

    people and communities [are] rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organization that our hydrocarbon-fuelled civilization eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community-level productivity and support.

    Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?” Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?” Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?”

  7. Re the remarks by smallbluemike – Some of us do what we can. I occasionally fly on vacation, but even with no tax breaks built a VERY energy efficient house. My (now) very clean turbodiesel Audi A6 gets 40 MPG – not ideal, but far better than my neighbor’s obnoxious Escalade. Politics is often the “art of the doable” so if a somewhat more moderate-than-ideal white male Democratic candidate might successfully deal with the destructive corporate interests which are leading us to disaster and if rational assessment is that such a candidate can beat the Republican candidate (hopefully, 45 will be in prison) then I will almost empty out my wallet for his campaign, leaving some money for my decades-long contributions to several environmental organizations.

    Re the comment by samothe – EXACTLY!!! Words should actually mean something, shouldn’t they?

  8. @smallbluemike,

    There’s also the basic fact that our collective position and success in the United States, which resulted in many good things for the world, including high technology, was powered by extracting and burning fossil fuels.

    Accordingly, it’s not only what we do now, it’s what was done in the past, since cumulative emissions are all that matter.

  9. you’ve elected to write moslem rather than the more common muslim. Was this a conscious choice and would you be able to put it in words? I know this isn’t related to the climate, nor the candidate and I’m asking from a place of curiousity, rather than confrontation.

    [Response: It’s because I’m old, and in my day … the spelling “moslem” was not uncommon. Maybe I just need to catch up with the times.]

  10. I would suggest that the most important thing is not to:

    Make solar panels more efficient. Make ’em cheaper! Get the wind turbines deployed. Move the ball forward on battery efficiency and other energy storage technologies. WORK the problem, people! RESEARCH: full speed ahead. MANUFACTURING: full speed ahead. DEPLOYMENT: full speed ahead. When we do that, watch the ECONOMY and JOBS go full speed ahead.

    But to figure out how to live with far less energy and how to live without economic growth. Yes, those other things will help, if done very quickly, but they would only get us so far. It would be quicker to reduce our energy requirement. And we’re going to have to live with less, anyway (this is a finite planet, after all, with a bioshpere that is deteriorating in all sorts of ways).

    I worry that we are desperately trying to figure out how to continue living as we are without emitting as much carbon and not see the writing on the wall for our lifestyles, as they are.

    [Response: I’m reminded of the episode of Star Trek in which Mr. Sulu (I think it is) complains about how long it will take to find Captain Kirk given the immense search area. Mr. Spock replies, “Then I suggest you begin immediately.”

    Everything you say is all the more reason for us to begin immediately. That means making it the #1 issue. Let’s actually start to WORK the problem — then you can raise all the other ugly issues we need to face.]

    • Both Mikke and Tamino are correct – we must do everything that is required to correct the impact of humans on the planet, and we must do it now.

      Every day that we don’t is another day of lost opportunity, and another day closer to irredeemable failure.

  11. Inslee opposed the 2016 Washington State initiative 732 which would have put in a carbon tax and used the revenue to reduce the state sales tax. It went down to defeat, in part because almost all “green” groups opposed it. James Hanson was a strong supporter.

    Inslee and the rest of the “green” opponents to that carbon tax acted as if they would rather have nothing than the kind of thing they want, which is using the proceeds of a price on carbon for a load of politically unpalatable to the right add-ons – a “green” laundry list of favored projects, something for this group, something for that group, etc.

    They claimed they had to defeat what was on offer so they could do better. They couldn’t do better. They ended up with nothing. Inslee couldn’t get anything through the legislature, and the Initiative he backed, 1631, was defeated.

    I support him for now because right out of the gate he’s claiming climate is the number one concern for him. But I don’t have illusions that he’s liable to get anything done.

    I tend to believe a carbon tax or fee of whatever you want to call it, with the revenue passed back to citizens based on the fact they are citizens, something like what Hansen has been touting for years, has the best chance of attracting right wing support. Progressives are not living in reality if they think that implementing something that lacks right wing support can survive in the long run.

    But unlike Inslee, I would support what is on offer today. I supported Waxman Markey’s 1000 page extravaganza, even though I felt better about the carbon tax proposals that were floating around at that time.

    I supported Initiative 732 knowing Inslee and his ilk were opposed. I didn’t believe them when they said they could do better. I supported Inslee when he was backing 1631.

    I support climate action. We need climate action. Support climate action.

    • @David Lewis,

      The trouble with all cap-n-trade policies, including the RGGI which dominates my own northeastern U.S. states, is that, in the colorful phrase of Professor Kevin Anderson, it is fat people paying thin people to diet for them.

      • Kevin Anderson framed it perfectly…

      • It’s worse than that, really.

        As long as the price of carbon scheme is both applied and the revenue recycled back within the same generally high-emitting jurisdiction, it’s more like morbidly obese people paying extremely fat people to diet for them.

        That said, it’s better than the status quo and will trigger marginal changes at the low-hanging fruit end of decarbonization menu (power, etc), but until the carbon tax or permits get very expensive, it makes very, very little difference for huge swaths of the tougher-to-mitigate sectors – agriculture, steel, concrete, shipping and long-haul transport, on and on…

  12. David B. Benson

    I keep pointing out that doubling the same supply of 3 trillion trees will certainly help. Doesn’t need research; does need deployment.

    But I don’t perceive a groundswell of enthusiasm…

    • @David B Benson,

      There’s no groundswell because it won’t help that much, and, also, to achieve this build-out can only be done on the needed timetable with massive amounts of fertilization, which necessarily needs to be done in a zero Carbon manner. This is not to mention the ecosystem disruption caused by planting 3 trillion trees. Not clear that the resulting ecosystem configuration is supportive of humanity any more than emissions are.

      • David B. Benson

        Wrong on every point. For example, “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara and Sahel to …” by Ornstein et al. For another, note that all of eastern North America, Europe to the eastern steppes, and agricultural China were all forests before cut down for agriculture.

      • @David B Benson,

        I cited the countering materials elsewhere here, I believe. Maybe not in comments on this post. What do you think

        “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara and Sahel to …”

        will do to its albedo, or to its native ecosystems? This is also the problem with large scale planting of Jatropha.

        While we cannot recreate the forests of old without severe disruption to existing ecosystems. However, proper agriculture can help, although it is not by any means a solution. Aggressive plantings can offset maybe 30% of emissions, if we are lucky, if deforestation is curtailed, if old growth forests are left alone, and if soils do not, as in some controlled hectare studies, release more CO2 they otherwise retain as the planet warms.

        There was enthusiasm for this at the end of the previous decade, but quantitative assessments and field studies showed that, while it might help, it was less helpful originally estimated, partly because there were limiting nutrients (water, Nitrogen), partly because there’s an interaction with soils which is critically important, and partly because there are side effects and lateral consequences to global energy balance, something which occurs with any massive buildout of anything, including solar and wind farms.

        A couple of references:

        Kemena, et al, “Atmospheric feedbacks in North Africa from an irrigated, afforested Sahara”, Climate Dynamics, 2018.

        Nave, et al, “Reforestation can sequester two petagrams of carbon in US topsoils in a century”, PNAS, 2018.

        The National Academy of Sciences held a workshop looking at several CO2 and CH4 removal proposals, and reported it in 2015 as

        Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration

        The potential for afforestation and reforestation, and for reducing deforestation was examined both from the literature and quantitatively in its Chapter 3, first section, “Land management”. Among other sources they quote from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. They address the need for fertilizer, which not only begs where it will come from, but also points out it itself produces NO which has a 300x GWP relative to CO2. One optimistic assessment says 380 GtCO2 can be removed by afforestation, but this needs to be considered in the context of natural decay, which produces about 100 GtCO2. (See the report.) Well 1 ppm CO2 is about 77 GtCO2. And, at some point, the 40% CO2 currently dissolving in oceans will come out and equilibrate, so 1 ppm removed is effectively about 50 GtCO2.

        There are also uninformed ideas out there about massive tree farming as a way of doing this, ignoring that to really sequester CO2 you need old growth forests (200+ y.o.) which have strong established relationships with the microflora and microfauna in their soils.

        Williamson had a summary Comment in 11 February 2016 Nature which was pretty good.

        We may learn more. I think people espousing these proposals need to remember that at the scale required, this is industrial geoengineering, as potentially damaging as any other industrial activity at similar scales, even if it was done with trees or biochar.

      • The limits to global‐warming mitigation by terrestrial carbon removal


        Tim Lenton and Hans Schellnhuber amongst the co-authors.

        We need to throw *EVERYTHING* we have at the problem, but there are no silver bullets.

        Actually, as I type this, I remember a lecture that Thom Lovejoy gave discussing the potential to use (terrestrial) biology – everything, soils, reforestation, etc. – to draw down atmospheric carbon. Some interesting math, which touches on the idea that at best we could probably re-sequester the carbon we’ve released from just LULCF, not fossil fuels. Hey, I forgot, I made a mini-clip of that discussion: https://youtu.be/6jeISnVTTEA

        Paul Falkowski makes a different but similar point. I will try to dig it up.

  13. I’m voting for Inslee; I knew that as soon as I heard he was making climate change the focus of his campaign. If he doesn’t make it to the Pennsylvania primary, my second choice is Elizabeth Warren. In the end, I will vote for whoever gets the Democratic nomination in the general election. A random Democrat may have only a half-assed approach to global warming, but Trump is actively making things worse.

    • what BPL said! quite right and sensible. We dems and leftists would be smart to save our harsh words for the trumpsters. I like Bernie, but I am on the same page. Of course, I am in a solidly blue state where my potus vote means nothing. I hope the Dems will focus and spend time and money this time to win the electoral votes and not just the popular vote. We need the right votes in the right places or we will continue to see elections decided in Ohio, or Florida or the supreme court. The truth is that it is hard for the dems to gather the electoral votes. We might want to be talking with our republican friends and family members in the red states about the impacts that they may already be experiencing. We have to be smart about this, so the talk should probably be in the form of questions: does it seem like weather has changed? heavier rains? more heat in summer? stronger tornadoes? etc. People don’t like to be told they are wrong, they need to “discover” things for themselves. Then we treat them with kid gloves when they start to figure it out: like, it sure seems worse this last few years. I thought climate change was going to be bad, but I wasn’t sure how soon. So you are feeling it already? ( probably avoid: Have you prayed about it? will climate change kill unborn fetuses? how does climate change work on a flat earth?).

      endless campaign season is underway. Dems need to flip some red states.


      • @smallbluemike,

        There’s a piece by Nordhaus and Trembath which expresses some serious concerns about the political path some on the Dem side have chosen to pursue. N&T talk about a lot, but the portions of interest to me and relevant here is the section titled “The Trouble with Climate Millenarianism”, and just above it. And that is something I’ve recently gotten in conflict with former allies over. The part above says:

        This, ultimately, is why adaptation, nuclear energy, carbon capture, and solar geoengineering have no role in the environmental narrative of apocalypse and salvation, even as all but the last are almost certainly necessary for any successful response to climate change and will also end up in any major federal policy effort to address climate change. Because they are basically plug-and-play with the existing socio-technical paradigm. They don’t require that we end capitalism or consumerism or energy intensive lifestyles. Modern, industrial, techno-society goes on, just without the emissions. This is also why efforts by nuclear, carbon capture, and geoengineering advocates to marshall catastrophic framing to build support for those approaches have had limited effect.

        The problem for the climate movement is that the technocratic requirements necessary to massively decarbonize the global economy conflict with the egalitarian catastrophism that the movement’s mobilization strategies demand. McKibben has privately acknowledged as much to several people, explaining that he hasn’t publicly recognized the need for nuclear energy because he believes doing so would “split this movement in half.”

        Implicit in these sorts of political calculations is the assumption that once advocates have amassed sufficient political power, the necessary concessions to the practical exigencies of deeply reducing carbon emissions will then become possible. But the army you raise ultimately shapes the sorts of battles you are able to wage, and it is not clear that the army of egalitarian millenarians that the climate movement is mobilizing will be willing to sign on to the necessary compromises — politically, economically, and technologically — that would be necessary to actually address the problem. Anyone who doubts this need only direct their gaze toward the other side of the political spectrum, where conservatives and Republicans are now entirely captive to the nativist forces they have unleashed over the last decade in their battles with Obama-era progressives.

        If people are going to prefer personal political purity over solutions that actually solve the problem, they lose me. It seems to me, at times, that some would rather fail than trade off. I’m not fighting them, but I am disenaging from them, and I won’t support them.

      • Michael D Sweet.

        The Breakthrough Institute is just a paid shill for the nuclear industry.

        Where is their response to Abbott 2011 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3a9b/2035cf5044154144542fbbeaccb3537d23fc.pdf and his 13 reasons why nuclear is not feasible?

        Since it takes 10-20 years to build a nuclear plant it is too late for nuclear to provide any significant help before 2050.

        I have never seen a carbon capture scheme that is economic. The claim that carbon capture is “plug and play” is simply false.

        We are already adapting so the claim that environmentalists are against it is stupid.

        Nothing from the Breakthrough Institute is worth reading.

      • @Michael D Sweet,

        If even the devil states that 2 x 2 = 4, I am going to believe him.

        (P. P. Waldenström)

        I agree the present nuclear system is abysmally bad. That was their fault, at misunderstanding the basic economics of technological development. The reason why their learning curve is negative is because they did not move to make nuclear power an assemblable commodity. There are other options now, but it is not clear these will happen, or happen in time.

        On the other hand, if one truly accepts the threat of climate change, and says it’s okay for people to complain and exclude zero Carbon energy sources, both wind and solar, from their towns and suburbs because of, who knows, property devaluations and other risks, and says it’s okay for people to still want electricity whenever and wherever, and it’s desirable to power lots and lots of EV/ recharging stations, then, like it or not, you are arguing for nuclear power — perhaps new nuclear power — but nuclear power nonetheless.

        If you don’t want nuclear power, and I very much believe it is possible to power everything with wind and solar and storage, then you need to convince people to build these everywhere and anywhere, and to control their appetites for electrical consumption, either by pricing demand as variable or other motivations. Wind and especially solar are good, but their energy density is low in contrast to nuclear and, indeed, fossil fuels. So inherently they need more land area. That’s okay and we can provide smart controllers for distributed energy and microgrids and such, but if people don’t get comfortable seeing these and living with these, and would rather energy be pumped in pipelines under ground to generating stations located in low income neighborhoods, the equation isn’t going to be balanced.

        So, sure, oppose nuclear power. But don’t tell me you are genuine if you don’t at the same time embrace the unpopular political position of pushing wind and solar everywhere, including places it is not wanted.

      • Michael D Sweet.


        You did not read either Abbott 2011 or Jacobson 2007 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/20068/jacobson_2011.pdf?sequence=1 (cited by 1130). These references show that it is impossible to build out any significant amount of nuclear power in any reasonable time frame. Jacobson 2011 has shown that the materials for a renewable system exist. The nuclear industry has hot shown that materials exist for expanded nuclear.

        Abbott shows that the basic materials do not exist to build out a significant amount of nuclear (more than 5% of world power). Rare metals like beryllium, hafnium and many others are used in large amounts in nuclear plants. These metals do not exist in large amounts and the nuclear power plant will render them radioactive so that they can never be used for another purpose. In addition, there is not enough uranium and thorium plants have not yet been designed or built. We would expect one severe accident per year if nuclear provided 10% of world power.

        Jacobson 2007 shows that more CO2 is emitted by nuclear plants because the very long build time causes delay in building wind and solar plants.

        In addition nuclear is uneconomic. Existing nuclear plants with no mortgage is the most expensive power. Operation and maintenance of a nuclear plant is more than O&M plus the mortgage of a renewable plant.
        With a mortgage nuclear cannot compete with renewable.

        Nuclear does not complement renewable. In a renewable world peak power on calm nights is most valuable and baseload power is not worth much. That is why coal and nuclear cannot compete even with the small amount of wind already installed.

        As you state, wind and solar will have to be built in many areas. Where NIMBYism is a problem we need to get started overcoming it.

      • @Michael D Sweet,

        Of course I read Jacobson. And, yes, if the negative learning curves of the nuclear industry continue, as I noted, using nuclear is a non-starter. However, there are alternatives, yet to be deployed, yet to be commissioned, true.

        What is unrealistic is to think the 2030 and 2050 targets will be met. Even the IPCC and UNFCCC admit that, and have built in, with pollyannaish ambition, a bunch of negative emissions technologies in their declarations that targets for limiting to +2C are still possible. (They suggest there will be “overshoot”. Y’think?) So, it’s going to be a +3C world, at least. Economies, even with will, can only be turned around so fast. And even now, there will not only be a need to deploy zero Carbon energy massively, but to retire fossil fuel assets with life in them before their depreciation lifetimes. That means, at least in the USA, that their owners will need to be compensated.

      • Michael D Sweet.


        I think in general we agree about the AGW problem. It looks like a difficult project to get people to build out renewable energy in time to prevent large temperature increases.

        On the other hand, if we waste billions of dollars in a futile attempt to build a failed technology that will only make things worse. Your link above says they hope to have “a trial in the early 2020s”. Evaluation of this trial will not be available before 2030 and production would start after that. Typically nuclear estimates are hopelessly optimistic. That is hardly the “plug and play” you quoted from the Breakthrough Institute. I think that proves my point that the Breakthrough Institute is simply shilling for the nuclear industry.

        It is my understanding that they have not identified alloys that can withstand the enhanced neutron field for these small reactors. That makes it impossible to determine if the materials for the alloys exist. You did not address that lack of materials in your response to my previous post

        I think your justification of supporting nuclear because people do not want renewable energy built near them (!!!) is not a valid solution to the problem..

        It is generally a waste of time to discuss nuclear power on line. I will not post again on this topic here.

      • @Michael D Sweet,

        Just to clarify, I agree that if the proposed modular reactors continue to exhibit the negative learning curve I described, they are a waste of time and money.

        But regarding

        Your link above says they hope to have “a trial in the early 2020s”. Evaluation of this trial will not be available before 2030 and production would start after that. Typically nuclear estimates are hopelessly optimistic. That is hardly the “plug and play” …

        the same could be said to be true of advanced technologies for negative emissions, such as clear air capture. These have, in fact, never been deployed at scale and respected organizations like the IPCC are relying upon them to drawn down CO2 into an acceptable range.

        Just in case readers don’t know or recall: CO2 in atmosphere and oceans will not scrub itself out for hundreds if not thousands of years. CO2 is not, in that respect, like DDT or CFCs. Accordingly once it is emitted, it is there a very long time by human standards and, as I’ve noted and linked elsewhere here, the warming due to the elevated greenhouse gases will stay around much longer than the CO2 does.

        I’m not arguing nuclear is a slam dunk win, nor do I favor it. But it is more realistic than clear air capture at scale, or afforestation. Solutions should be held to the same standards.

        And regarding

        I think your justification of supporting nuclear because people do not want renewable energy built near them (!!!) is not a valid solution to the problem..

        that isn’t the entire context of what I wrote. I also expressed that people won’t do without electrical energy or transportation. And if adequate zero Carbon energy cannot be built, and nuclear is out of the question, natural gas will be built out because of this.

      • Michael D Sweet.


        Unfortunately, as I said I think we agree on most issues. I am also skeptical of untried technologies removing CO2 from the air and the prospects of afforestation. If several of these are tried perhaps one will be able to remove significant amounts of CO2. A poster at Skeptical Science thinks farmers can return carbon to the soil.

        In the end we have to do the best we can. I think that we should build out as much renewable energy as possible as soon as possible. Since renewable is cheaper it is easy to justify. Every watt of solar or wind power replaces a fossil watt. A carbon tax will make renewable even cheaper compared to fossil fuel. Work on energy storage is making progress.

      • Michael touches on the concept of “baseload” (March 12, 2019 at 11:32 am) and it’s been a notion that in other discussions has bothered me for some time, because it conflates two ideas. Most people assume that it refers merely to a minimum amount of power that a society might need of an extended period of time, and therefore that it’s a quantum that has to be produced by an energy dense source such as fossil carbon or nuclear fuel.

        In fact, as Michael intimates above, baseload energy is a consequence of the fact that coal-fired generators and nuclear reactors cannot be turned off without expensive and time-consuming effort, and that they need to be kept running at a minimum rate in order to be scaled up further when required. Yes, societies might have a minimum energy requirement, but in the organisation of energy supply the actual nature of ‘baseload’ has profound implications for how we plan for future energy use, and it makes it very difficult to blend coal/nuclear with renewables + dispatchable storage.

        There’s a pretty good discussion of exactly this subject here:


        Skip to 1:06:38 in the file, or thereabouts – the rest is unrelated local content. The actual discussion lasts about 15-20 minutes.

  14. Michael D Sweet.

    It is very positive that we have several different candidates to back that prioritize climate change. It is too early for me to commit to one but the discussion is looking much better than last election where climate change was not mentioned in any of the presidential debates.

    I even see some of the Republican deniers starting to claim they back climate action because they see the handwriting on the wall. That can only be good news.

  15. What about changing the reward system ? I mean, our current reward system encourages gaining money, but this can be done for the good (being more efficient, more ecological) or the bad (being robber, good trickster, using monopolies) or even the ugly (being arms dealer or war monger). And I am not meaning this in terms of climate change only. Not that I think climate change problem is not extremely serious issue. But I do think that the very mindset of our current society, which is so focused on profits and benefits, is the core of all sorts of problems, including the climate change. But then again, solving the climate crisis can learn us to solve other problems and even the core issue too.

  16. jimvogan@juno.com

    The main reason we can’t get any political traction on climate change is rampant, monopolistic capitalism which produces sociopathic billionaires who fund propaganda. Elizabeth Warren has some creative proposals for getting big business under control and making our politics more responsive to facts and reason rather than propaganda. Without such improvements to our broken system I doubt we will make much progress, so she is my first choice. Unfortunately, we needed her 20-30 years ago. (So she should start as soon as possible, as Spock would say.)

  17. I like Inslee. However, my vote is going to go to the most disciplined candidate–the one who looks like they will be able to wade through the smoke and flak from the Trumpster fire and still stay on message.

    That is going to be the key. The orange shit gibbon is hell for policy wonks, because he’s willing to set his own hair on fire and dance on his own pudendum just to distract the electorate away from substantive issues. In some ways, a crowded Dem field might be the ticket to ensuring we get the best candidate to take the country back from the treason weasels.

    • Thanks for the imagery but I don’t think you’re being fair to gibbons.

      • Yeah, I know. Gibbons have enough problems–what with nearing extinction and being the only member of a class called “lesser apes”. I suspect that their habit of throwing their waste is simply too tempting a metaphor for our current political process. And face it, “shit-hyenas” and “shit arthropods” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

  18. brettschmidt

    As an Australian, I have no say in who becomes President of the United States; all I can do is hope that there are enough decent, honest, intelligent Americans to vote in a President who will take constructive action on climate change. In particular, I encourage them to actually go out and vote in the 2020 election (though I suspect that in posting on this blog, I am preaching to the converted). Unfortunately, Donald pea brain Trump’s attitude and policies as regards the burning of fossil fuels threaten not just America, but the whole world, and yet no one outside of the United States has any say in the matter. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for the people of small island nations whose very existence is being threatened by sea level rise. Furthermore, if these people lose their land to the rising oceans, and become climate refugees, people like Trump will probably call for the building of a wall along the United States coast line to keep them out!

  19. David B. Benson

    It Sounds Crazy, But Fukushima, Chernobyl, And Three Mile Island Show Why Nuclear Is Inherent Safe
    Michael Shellenberger
    2019 Mar 11

    Of course it is also low carbon, life cycle carbon dioxide emissions almost the same as wind turbines. And it will run during those 6 week lulls in the wind.

  20. For years i read this blog and allways thought by myself: all this statistics and debunking, as necessary as it may be, is somehow repeating itself. And now a very very strong plea for action, yielding an immediate an colorful reader response. As an outsider of course i have nothing to meddle in American politics, but this change to action is really encouraging!

  21. I’ve just started to read The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, so my comments may be coloured by that. I saw a discussion he had with Michael Mann about the prequel to the book (an article in New York Magazine) and it seems he’s got the science about right. I’m not quoting from the book yet but it seems to me that there is no “solution” to climate change, if one thinks of a solution as keeping this particular brand of civilisation going. But, as 2°C is better than 2.5°C is better than 3°C is better than 3.5°C, and so on, we still need a very quick set of actions to address the situation. But I think we have to abandon the dream that we can continue living the way we have been but with some other energy mix. Minimisation is the key, I think.

    As for nuclear. The various accidents we’ve had may have shown nuclear accidents could be less dangerous than had been assumed (but I don’t think there has been good research on that) though I would still worry about having thousands of reactors, instead of 450, as societies starts to crumble under the weight of what we’ve done to the environment in so many ways.

  22. …it seems to me that there is no “solution” to climate change, if one thinks of a solution as keeping this particular brand of civilisation going.

    This is true.

    And it is exacerbated by the other environmental impacts that humans have on the biosphere – we are rapidly approaching an ecological tipping point where not only humanity but a lot of natural ecosystems will no longer be able to be sustained as they are today, and most of us are still in deep, deep denial about it.

    About three years ago I had a brief exchange with John Quiggins about a subject related to this. I don’t recall the premise of his original post (although I think it involved future societal energy use/demand), but I made the point that we will inevitably have to transition from a growth model economy to a steady-state model of economic activity if we are to have a civilisation and a biosphere that can last for longer than a few centuries into the future.

    John disagreed, so I pointed out that energy use is a direct and incontrovertible proxy for non-energy resource use across the planet, and that even if we could establish a free, environmentally-benign, and long-lasting source of energy we were already over-exploiting most of the other resources of the planet, and that the inevitable result would be system collapse. John continued to disagree, and his response that our economy could become more and more – and eventually mostly – “virtual” and that we could therefore limit our material impact on the planet. Essentially his premise was that we would spend most of our lives in a virtual universe, no longer needing to put pressure on the material world.

    John’s thinking was and remains wishful – a magic pudding solution. Even if Humans spent large parts of their lives online and plugged in, a growth model will still eventually exhaust the Earth’s finite resources. And whether it’s climate change or any of the older problems, humans have been almost completely unable to undo their historic damage to the planet because doing so runs counter to our economic model. The Montreal protocol is perhaps the best example of a rare success, but over sufficient span of time even a high proportion of successes would be insufficient because we are not in an ecological equilibrium.

    Our only way of avoiding the worst outcome is to radically retool not only the way that we derive our energy, but the way that we run our societies. Completely, from the ground up, and right through the way that we think and live. It’s inescapable thermodynamics and ecology; the immutable laws of nature. There’s no way to escape it, and the longer we delay the more unkind will be nature’s eventual response.

    FWIW, the Quiggin thread to which I refer no longer seems to exist. Or at least, the comments I made are no longer discoverable using a search engine. I’m not sure why this should be so, but if I am inadvertently confusing John for another Australian economic blogger I do apologise. I’m otherwise a big fan and I endorse many of his economic positions.

  23. The thing about truth is, it can be denied, not avoided.

    This has been a most interesting dicussion thread. I can see just how much thought has gone into the whole issue, on the part of those who have the most to say. How different that is from some other blogs!

    I see some overriding themes. One is that we are in a lot deeper shit than almost anyone realizes, and that even those who purport to be “on board” (like say, most democrats) are actually in denial — of just *how* bad it is.

    The other, is that the proposed solutions/approaches/technologies/etc. have serious difficulties. Some economic, some resource problems, some safety issues, some might not even be possible.

    I don’t have any keen insight to offer about that; I think y’all know more about it than I do. But I do know — and you know it too — that one inescapable, indisputable fact is: emit more, suffer more; emit less, suffer less.

    And that is why I’m “all in” supporting Jay Inslee. He is the only candidate who is “all in” on climate change (maybe Bernie is 2nd). From what I see, from what you have said, we damn well need to be.

    I very much doubt Inslee will get the nomination. But I’ll wear a button, get a bumper sticker, put up a sign. I’m gonna fight like hell to keep him in the race long enough to make the debates. Then — nobody can ignore the issue like everybody has so far.

    • Who knows how the dems will choose a candidate? They certainly have a big field of people interesting in being the candidate. I absolutely agree that it would be fantastic to have Inslee in the debates. He is definitely saying all the right things. The climate message needs to be front and center, everything else is secondary.

      The dems have a huge hill to climb on political power due to money, vote suppression and gerrymandering (electoral college is effectively a national gerrymander) and our time for cost-effective action on climate change is getting short.

      The dems have been a disappointment to me when they have achieved control of two branches of government. The repubs are an abomination to me on many issues when they are in control, but the most important is their refusal to address climate change. I don’t know if the US Federal government is capable of taking on this challenge. Many folks have shifted focus to state/local/regional action. My primary efforts these days to to community and neighborhood resilience. All politics is local, right?


      • SBM: “All politics is local, right?”

        Sure. Just ask Estonia. Or Czechoslovakia in 1939. Or the first Africans who encountered a white slave trader…

      • @smallbluemike,

        The dems have a huge hill to climb on political power due to money, vote suppression and gerrymandering (electoral college is effectively a national gerrymander) and our time for cost-effective action on climate change is getting short.

        Well, that’s part of the problem, but it is becoming less defensible with time, as the USA is becoming more urbanized, with people flocking to where the money is to be made, and the Republicans get crazier and crazier.

        The rest of the problem is that Democrats as a group are fractious, don’t really know what they want, do not have party discipline, and declare certain stances where they could win and dominate as nullius terram. For example, if they took an economy-centric/productivity-centric stance, that would automatically convert into a Blue-state-centric stance, since big, Blue urban centers generate most of the wealth in the country, and are centers of wealth and technology.

        But, no, the Democrats decide to rampage on an anti-corporate, anti-technology theme were wealth is equivocated with unbridled misogynistic greed, and demonstrations in the streets with placards, chants, sit-ins, and civil disobedience are enshrined as the highest form of policymaking.

        They have even managed to estrange Big Labor at present.

      • Will Rogers quotes come to mind:
        “I’m not a member of any organized political party…. I’m a Democrat.”
        “Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.”
        There is potential strength in our collective independence and our ability to tolerate a bit of dissension. Just don’t get too crazy. If you find yourself way out on the fringe, consider taking a baby step toward the middle, just for the heck of it. What do you have to lose?

        If you find yourself right in the middle and considering another step to the right to achieve bipartisan agreement with the republicans, please take a time out and think this through. What values are important to you? Which candidate embodies those values? Bipartisan agreement is a weak value to bring to the table. It ain’t rocket science.

      • @smallbluemike,

        No, I won’t support Republicans, but when I vote, I may leave the nationals blank or support someone like the Greens.

        This is why, in part, I’m happy my kids are settling down in Europe rather than here.

      • >> “But, no, the Democrats decide to rampage on an anti-corporate,
        >> anti-technology theme were wealth is equivocated with unbridled
        >> misogynistic greed…”

        Perhaps that’s because, among the super-rich and the wealthiest corporations, wealth itself enshrines unbridled misogynistic greed.

        Maybe you’re right that it’s a bad messaging strategy. But don’t pretend it isn’t true.

      • @Tamino,

        It wasn’t @smallbluemike, it was me. My point was that insisting on moral purity, whether it is who a group chooses to associate with in combating emissions, or political allegiances, means that proper alliances are not formed and people y’might want on your side will be alienated.

        Facts are, like it or not, we cannot solve the climate emergency without wht expertise, wealth, and help of corporations.

        My central point of late is, what would people rather, progress towards solving climate, or personal moral purity? My view is we don’t have the luxury of latter. We probably haven’t had it for 20 years.

      • Again, control of the US Senate is 60 votes, solid, and Obama and the Democrats did not have that.

        And, if fracking and coal states vote as a defensive block, because you are threatening their economies, you never will.

      • the party with 51 senators controls the Senate. 60 solid votes to overcome a filibuster used to be an important benchmark, but control comes with simple majority.

        The last times that the Dems had control of senate, house and white house were:

        2008-2010 Obama president
        Senate 57 out of 100
        House 257 seats out of 435
        primary accomplishment: ACA or Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Lily Ledbetter fair pay act

        1992-1994 Clinton president
        Senate 56 out of 100
        House 258 out of 435
        primary accomplishment: tax cuts, Family leave, Brady gun control bill, voters registration, don’t ask – don’t tell legislation, violence against women act

        It does not take 60 votes to pass progressive legislation, but:

        Social Security was passed in 1935 by a Senate with 69 dem votes and House with 313 dem votes

        Medicare was passed in 1965 by a senate with 68 dem votes and House with 295 dem votes

        Landmark progressive legislation may require a supermajority if it is seen as legislation pushed primarily by one party, but emergency or war-footing legislation can be passed by less than a supermajority.

        I think Inslee’s push on climate change is absolutely essential to raise the issue to an emergency or war-footing status so that it can be passed by a simple majority Congress because I think there is no way that the Dems are going to be back in supermajority territory in the next couple of decades (despite Trump’s best/worst efforts). Issues of gerrymandering, unlimited money and vote suppression have made it very difficult for the dems to manage a simple majority. I think a supermajority is out of reach until the issues of gerrymandering, unlimited money and vote suppression have been addressed and corrected. On the POTUS election, the same thing applies, with electoral college stepping in as a national gerrymander on POTUS election.

        Dems need to be in control to push climate change legislation, but they cannot wait to achieve a supermajority, the issue has to be pushed into the realm of emergency or war-footing and some republicans have to embrace the legislation to address this problem.

        Keep talking, Inslee. Atta boy!

      • @smallbluemike,

        The core of the argument by plaintiffs in the Juliana v United States lawsuit is that the President and Congress have had more than 50 years to address the problem of climate change through mitigation policy. There is plenty of evidence they knew and were warned of the seriousness of inaction, both parties, and did absolutely nothing. Moreover, their argument goes, and in fact they did everything to facilitate additional climate change, basically by permitting the destruction of natural systems, not only through the permitting of fossil fuels, but also destruction of ecosystems, and implicitly encouraging at state and local levels the same.

        Accordingly, the argument goes, this is a problem which politics cannot solve, at lease in the United States. Accordingly, the Courts are being asked to intervene. And, at the rally I helped organize in Boston, along with dozens of others in the United States, in the vicinity of 29th October 2018, I spoke, saying, in part:

        Despite these warnings, Congress after Congress, President after President, Democrat or Republican, have each done ​nothing​. They’ve done nothing even after they promised to do something. Promises on the books. Promises as ratified treaties which are supposed to have the force of federal law, as some supposed defenders of the Constitution choose to overlook. 

        So, the ​Juliana vs United States​ charges the United States with direct harm to the plaintiffs and to future generations by negligence, harm which is specific and more severe to them than to their parents and grandparents. It argues that this taking was done without due process. Whether or not President Donald Trump owns a substantial piece of that harming, he and his Executive Branch represent 50 years of Presidents who have done nothing, and his administration is responsible for that, like it or not. You might note that emissions from the United States have decreased since 1990 or so, but because many of the things we buy are now made elsewhere, those emissions are counted against ​them​ even if we buy the end products. 

        The United States owns ​at least ​25% of the world’s cumulative Carbon emissions, and each emission in the last 50 years was permitted and facilitated by an agency of the United States Executive and by Congress. With climate change, unlike many pollutants, cumulative emissions are all that matter. CO2 in atmosphere does naturally go away, but only in thousands of years, beyond any reasonable timescale of human planning or existence. Accordingly, permits produce harm. 

        The government argues that ​Juliana v United States ​is an intrusion of the judiciary upon executive privileges. They argue it would thereby precipitate a Constitutional crisis. Administrative Procedures Act or not, what’s on trial here is not only the White House and, by extension, Congress, but the very Constitution itself: a ​true​ Constitutional crisis.  

        For should the plaintiffs of ​Juliana​ fail, the last government branch, the judiciary, abdicates responsibility for solving this urgent problem. And so the Constitution will have failed one of its existential requirements: To provide for the common defense. For Nature has laws, too, and we have been breaking them for a long time, ever more intensely. But Nature does ​not ​have courts of grievance or redress. Nature just acts. In a catastrophic sea level rise, perhaps triggered by a collapse of a distant ice sheet, Moakley Courthouse itself, the land you stand on would be lost, and all that there [​gesturing towards Boston inner harbor​].  

        While disappointing, were ​Juliana​ to be overturned, this should not be a reason for despair. It would ​not mean the Constitution should be replaced. It would just mean it is ​useless ​for solving certain kinds of critically​ important problems. Its failure would imply the Constitution is becoming a dusty, old thing, irrelevant, like the Articles of Confederation are to us, a ceremonial relic. Let’s hope not.

        There​ will ​be solutions for solving climate in any case, Constitution or not. They may well be horrifically expensive. And, while ​there’s no​ solution without first zeroing emissions, solutions will exist. These will lie ​beyond​ the Constitution, I hope Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues understand the import of that.

        Accordingly, I am pessimistic politics is capable of solving this problem. There is no evidence it can.

      • ecoquant says about global warming: “I am pessimistic politics is capable of solving this problem.”
        I am inclined to agree with you. I am not optimistic that there is a political solution available in the US, though I think the GND might be a decent place to start. Wouldn’t it be great if our pessimism and lack of optimism were wrong?

        I think there is a temptation to not take yes for an answer unless a political solution dots all our i’s and crosses all our t’s. I would be thankful for any real progress. I strongly supported the last two carbon initiatives in WA State even though neither was my perfect vehicle. The opponents won both times by arguing that we could do better, that the details of the carbon initiaves were the problem, but the truth was that most of the opponents were operating in bad faith because their true goal is to defeat any carbon initiative.

        BC’s carbon legislation apperars to doing good things even though it has significant flaws from my perspective.

        I am two degrees separated from the parties in Juliana lawsuit. The young folks bringing the action are children of folks who engaged in civil disobedience to stop the clearcutting of old growth timber stands in Oregon. My partner and I are pretty tight with some of the CD folks. I am not sure that CD can get the job done. I would be reluctant to spend a lot of effort on any cases that might eventually end up in front of the Roberts court. That seems like it might turn out to be a dead end, but who know? We have to try everything we can think of and hope something produces results.


      • You cannot do what you want with 51 votes. You are disappointed they could not create miracles.

        Look at JFK. He passed a very large amount of legislation. The lowest number of senators in his column: 62. 49 is gridlock light; 51 is gridlock light.

      • control means your party gets to name the committee chairpersons. It means your party gets to name the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the house. It means your party can control what legislation gets hearing and has possibility to advance. Control wrt to Senate and House is a term of art with significant function attached. Passing legislation and sending it to the POTUS for signature (and overriding presidential vetoes) may qualify as getting to do what you want. As you say, 51 does not allow you to do what you want, it only gives a party control of the house and/or senate.

        I think it would be smart for a dem potus candidate (like Inslee) to align themselves closely with a legislative agenda and campaign in tandem with members of house and senate to enact important legislation. That is the kind of thing that the republicans did in 1994 with Gingrich’s contract with america or whatever it was called. That kind of thing might work and it shifts focus from the constant election and partisan bickering to a legislative agenda. The Green New Deal is that sort of thing, I think. I would love to see Inslee and other more centrist dems embrace that kind of legislative agenda. I think Inslee’s position is that the GND is aspirational, which I think is DC Speak for “we’re not going to do that.”

        51 dem senators? 65 dem senators? is the number critical? I think it doesn’t matter if swingstate dems won’t vote in favor when their vote counts. Passing legislation and getting it enacted into law is the goal and that is what counts. The rest is theater. Given the limitations posed by swingstate dems, it’s good to pull a handful of R votes when you are working on landmark legislation like social security, medicare and anything like the GND, a carbon tax or anything like that.

        JCH: you can have the last word on this if you want to respond again. I have said my piece on these questions and matters.



      • Green New Deal – dead on arrival with 51 senators.

    • One is that we are in a lot deeper shit than almost anyone realizes…

      Coincidences… On the same day that you typed this I bumped into a colleague in the lunchroom, who has just started working with another colleague on modelling impacts of climate change, and he said almost exactly the same thing…

      He waited until some of the postgrads had left and then said that “it’s dark, really bad” and went into some detail about the severity of the ecological consequences their modelling was suggesting, and he expressed his incredulity that so many scientists around the world are still being guarded about public comment, and/or are failing to join the dots linking different braches of the science around warming. To give some extra context, this is a gruff and burly researcher with 40 years in the game and hundreds of papers, and he was shaking and almost in tears describing what was coming out of the work, and what the implications were for our children.

      I can’t comment about the nature of the modelling as it’s only a preliminary exploration at this point, but if it holds up with expanded datasets I suspect the resulting paper will garner prominent exposure. Sadly though, for all the stir that it will raise, I also suspect that it won’t make a stitch of difference at the political level, given that similar warnings have failed to date to achieve anything of substance. But one thing’s for sure – if they can get sufficient additional data to corroborate the initial results we will never again have an excuse for our self-indulgent inaction. And we will likely never again be able to sleep peacefully whilst looking to the unfolding of the future…

      • That’s why I’m changing gears. I just submitted a paper (with a lot of others) to GRL, but it may be my last research foray for a while. I see what’s coming, and it tells me that it’s time to stop research and start activism.

        That doesn’t mean everybody should! We need more science, to better anticipate what’s coming. But I’m old enough, that I’m not needed for research, but I feel like I am needed for activism.

        Several years ago I gave a talk about climate change to a high school class. I began by apologizing for what my generation had done to the world. But it’s when I started to cry, that I think the message really got through.

      • @Tamino,

        Seriously wish you the best of luck on activism. I invested much of the last 4 years in that, and, while I accomplished a couple of tangible things, I need, for my own self-worth and sanity, to get back to doing technical stuff and working the adaptation side.

        One area which doesn’t get mentioned much but is necessary: Finding out in short term and in some way independent of governments and vested interests whether measures for curtailing emissions actually are. (“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”) To be useful, these also need to be attributable, in the sense that the monitoring should be localized to small geographic patches.

        Now this area isn’t devoid of work. Most of it is done using either aircraft flys or ground-mounted laser scanners operating from trucks or from observatories on mountaintops. There are some interesting series which have been developed from this work. For example,

        McDonald, McBride, Martin, Harley, “High-resolution mapping of motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions“, JGR-Atmospheres, 2013.

        Figure from above:

        Peters, et al, “Towards real-time verification of CO2 emissions“, Nature Climate Change, 2017.

        Anyway, encourage looks.

        This is important: A lot the emissions reported by the U.S. EPA, whether under Trump, Obama, Bush, or Clinton, are self-reported by emitters. Certainly true in Massachusetts. I pointed this out to the U.S. EPA Region 1 Director 5 years ago, and he just shrugged.

        [Response: Thanks. I quite understand the need to get back to technical stuff. Man does not live by bread alone.

        And I too, distrust emissions figures. I’ll believe we’re getting somewhere when Mauna Loa says so.]

      • Can I repeat your story (with no names attached)? Can I put it in a Facebook post?

      • I’ve decided to use your story. I won’t mention your name. I think that if you didn’t want people to read this, you wouldn’t have posted it on the internet, and it is so important that people need to hear it.

      • the coming darkness: I shudder when I think about what we have done to the oceans on the planet. And earth is an ocean planet primarily. The bio and biodiversity depletion, the warming, the acidification etc are really quite dramatic. Out of sight, out of mind. We can see glaciers calving. We can see sea ice disappearing. We generally don’t see the true state of the oceans, we see the surface, we see beaches, we see waves. If there is devastation beneath the surface (and I think there is) we have to look really hard to recognize it.

        I wish I could say that I felt some comradery or solidarity or anything like that when I read about researchers who are starting to join me in some despair about what we have done, but it really does nothing for me. The damage and insult to so many beings of so many species really defies any kind of consolation when it is truly recognized.

        Some folks skip over that biodiversity-centered grief and move directly to the “what about our children and grandchildren?” grief. We all process this in our own ways, if we decide to recognize it at all.

        The final point for me (if it is a final point) is to be grateful to have come into existence, to have somehow achieved a spark consciousness and conscience. That appears to be an amazing thing in itself in the universe, so yes, I can make a shift out of despair and back to a state of gratitude and wonder.

        The planet’s history suggests that earth can recover from mass extinction events. It’s takes a long time when compared to human experience of time, but it’s the blink of an eye in planetary time. This is an amazing planet. It’s too bad that our species has been unable to step back from the consumptive growth pattern that is driving the current extinction event, but maybe we just don’t have that growth capacity within us and among us as a species?

        We can still make changes that will limit/slow damage and suffering and we should do that. To act along those lines is a matter of living in some sort of state of grace as our species experiences and imagines such things. That imagination of states of grace is also an amazing thing. It’s all such a wonder.

        Cheers to all,


      • Hi Tamino.

        I am late to the replies on my post, but I have no issue with you relaying it. I was careful to be circumspect when I originally typed it so it’s fine to go.

        In a confluence of similar stories a colleague was telling me on Friday that one of her PhD supervisors had told her that we have about 15 years before the shit hits the fan. That was five years ago. Her PhD supervisor is a climate modeller…

  24. David B. Benson

    Want to Stop Climate Change? Then It’s Time to Fall Back in Love with Nuclear Energy
    Hans Blix
    2019 Mar 11

    On the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima Dai-ichi failure, the grand old man offers words of wisdom.

  25. DBB: Fukushima, Chernobyl, And Three Mile Island Show Why Nuclear Is Inherent Safe

    BPL: Unfortunately, it’s also inherently expensive and extremely slow to deploy. Plus there’s no known way to stop reactor chambers, even in the small, modular “advanced” reactors, from becoming brittle and radioactive due to neutron bombardment. If we went to an all-nuclear economy, we’d use up all the hafnium and niobium in the world permanently–or until the radioactivity died down.

    • David B. Benson

      BPL, not so: $4/W from Kepco and also Rosatom. Construction time is 4 years from those vendors, same as for a combined cycle gas turbine. Neutrons are absorbed by inexpensive boron; the embrittlement is a non issue in modern designs.

      • Michael D Sweet.

        The Barakah power plant being built by KEPCO is currently scheduled to open in late 2019 or 2020. https://www.thenational.ae/uae/uae-s-first-nuclear-power-plant-delayed-until-late-2019-or-2020-1.734445 In April 2018 they claimed they would open in 2018. Construction was started in July 2012 for completion in 2017. It will take at least 7 years to build. The cost has risen as the construction stretches out and they pay more interest. Your $4/W is fantasy. The initial bid was awarded in 2009, ten years ago.

        Your nuclear claims are simply false. Please answer the 13 reasons nuclear cannot be built in Abbott 2011. Materials do not exist for significant nuclear plants and they take too long to build..

        Your citation above was another piece of junk from the Breakthrough Institute. He challenges accepted medical estimates of radiation danger and ignores the damage caused by the abandonment of extensive land areas.

      • DBB: $4/W from Kepco and also Rosatom. Construction time is 4 years from those vendors, same as for a combined cycle gas turbine.

        BPL: And a wind farm takes 9 months to go up, and costs less than $2/W. As I said, even with the new designs, reactors are expensive and take too long to deploy. Nuclear can’t make much of a difference even if we go all out on it.

      • David B. Benson

        BPL — But $2/W of nameplate power at a good availability factor, for wind, of 0.3 has to be compared to $4/W of nameplate power at an avail factor of 0.92.

        I make that
        Wind 6.666
        Nuclear 4.438

        In addition wind requires backup for when the wind isn’t blowing; in most localities that requires natural gas burners.

      • @David B Benson,

        In addition wind requires backup for when the wind isn’t blowing; in most localities that requires natural gas burners.

        This claim is only true in the short term and with a grid network architecture and control plane which is no smarter than it is today. Some storage will be required, too, unless the grid is truly revamped, but options for storage also depend on the time scales needed. Solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, and smart demand reduction (e.g., variable speed motors, using chillers instead of A/C, etc) can complement, and wind lulls are, except for uncommon situations, localized events. Moreover, controls are easier when the the network is a net of nets than a big centrally controlled thing.

        Y’might complain about capacity factors, but I complain about curtailments, which, when they happen, show the grid is ill-matched to dealing with these new power sources.

      • David B. Benson

        Michael D Sweet — Your comment covers too many points for me to address. I point out that Kepco is delivering on time and in budget, my only point; you are wrong about interest charges in Islam cpuntries.

        There are no resource limitations to building enough nuclear power plants. Ask economic geologists.

        Most seriously, so-called accepted medical estimates of radiation damage have changed dramatically since the days of single-hit, linear, no threshold, which is clearly wrong. DNA repair includes damage from radiation. For example, see “Radiation and Reason” by Oxford physicist Wade Allison; also his more recent book. These may be freely available online.

      • David B. Benson

        ecoquant — It is not possible to have enough storage for 6 weeks without wind. Such lulls are common enough.

        The grid load, or demand, is quite inflexible. It is up to the power engineers to devise ways to economically meet that demand — yes, a little curtailment but that is just around the edges.

        I suggest actually seriously studying some grids. For example the CALISO and ERCOT grids. Then maybe you will be enlightened.

      • @David B Benson,

        I don’t know anything about CALISO, but I know something about ERCOT.
        From Slusarewicz and Cohan, 2018:

        Also, Yu, Zhang, Bian, and Heilman in 2015 reported on wind variability in the United States for 1979-2011:

        There are swaths with 2-3 m/s in Summer, but it doesn’t go away. The same paper shows the standard deviations in wind flows are small in most of the low wind areas. The cut-in speed of a modern (3 MW) Vestas turbine is 3 m/s.

        Complementarity of wind and solar is also seen in Europe:

        (The Vestas wind power curve is also take from the above reference.)

      • @David B Benson, and all,

        One consequence of needing to exploit things like complementarity in order to make wind + solar generation work is that placement of these generation assets cannot be permitted to be willy-nilly, such as being simply of function of whoever can find land that’s supportive and capital to pay for construction, or permitting utilities to play games with connection permits. These things have to be planned, and, given the experience of other countries, that needn’t be completely determined by governmental edicts, it is a good deal more planning than is typically done in the United States.

        It also means that, for the Greater Good, individual communities where such assets need to go can’t be permitted a veto. Nor, for that matter, can local ecological considerations. I think those are hypocritical anyway, for they are not considered when interests want to build commercial or housing developments, at least any more than filing lip service eco-impact statements and stormwater management statements. Constraints are readily overturned for these as well. So, why oughtn’t, for the greater purpose of generating consistent clean energy, such wind + solar systems be given consideration?

      • Michael D Sweet.

        David Benson,
        I am only commenting so that others will be informed on your statements. As I said upthread, discussions with nuclear zealots like you is a waste of time.

        Anyone can see that you claiming that a reactor that was supposed to be online in 2017 and is currently estimated to come online in 2020 was delivered on time is false. KEPCO is responsible for building and training the operators. There must be a major problem that they have not divulged to keep the plant closed.

        You respond to my peer reviewed paper by telling me to call an economic geologist. Perhaps you do not understand that the scientific method of discussion is you cite papers to support your claims. I take it from your response that you have no peer reviewed papers that support your wild claims about answers to the questions in Abbott.

        The nuclear industry has been arguing against medical experts forever. When I was trained in nuclear safety 35 years ago they made the same ridiculous arguments against medical experts that they make today. I note that medical experts still use the linear threshold model.

        Wind energy bids $2/W for delivered energy, not $2 per nameplate of build. Nuclear costs over $5 per watt just to build. Interest and operation and maintenance are additional for nuclear. Insurance is provided free by the government because nuclear plants do not make enough profit to insure themselves. You must know this. Your uprating actual wind bids is deliberately misleading.

        Jacobson and many others use actual past years wind velocities to model power production. It has been shown by multiple groups that wind and solar can provide sufficient energy for all uses.

  26. While we debate nuclear vs. solar, or the best carbon tax model, here’s a couple of easy, effective, and often overlooked ways that people can reduce their carbon footprint. They come with the added incentive of cost savings.

    1) Plant trees and shrubs around your home.

    2) organize a carpool

    • David B. Benson

      Snape — Yes, if each person on the face of the globe planted 300 trees that would make a noticeable difference to the carbon budget.

  27. David
    I’m guessing you didn’t read the link – wasn’t suggesting people should plant trees to sequester carbon. Here’s another one:

  28. In cities with hot climates, where air conditioning accounts for the lion’s share of energy consumption (compared to heating), planting trees and shrubs can be especially beneficial, creating a park like cooling effect. The whole town will be more energy efficient:

    “It is well known to us that urban vegetation can decrease the temperatures in cities through shading and evaporative cooling [9–11]. Urban parks have been considered as an important part of urban vegetation, which are cooler than their surrounding built-up areas and can form a “Park Cool Island” (PCI) [12–15]. So, the establishment of urban parks can be an effective measure to improve the urban thermal environment and mitigate UHI effects.”

    Click to access 4614c45bfee6cd33c8d0dc0218b992c4460f.pdf

  29. Resilience has an article today which underscores the problem with opposition to zero Carbon energy, including environmentalists.

  30. David B. Benson

    Jacobson has been shown to be wrong; the refutation is in PNAS.

    Instead, let us try to understand just what ERCOT, with lots of wind, actually does. Less than 1%of ERCOT generation is currently from solar so I’ll leave that out. A listing from NREL suggests using 0 37 as the wind availability factor; high but West Texas is indeed windy.

    Wikipedia has a page stating that generation from wind commands $74/MWh but elsewhere a blogger suggests the ultimate price will be but $36/MWh. I’ll use a blend at $55/MWh.

    Wind requires 100% backup. Well, ERCOT assumes that some small portion of the wind is always blowing for the purpose of setting reserves, but I will ignore that. Simply put, if the wind isn’t blowing, OCGTs, open cycle gas turbines, pick up the load. Doubters are welcome to check the recent substantial growth of gas turbines in the ERCOT service area.. Again from the Wikipedia page one sees that OCGTs require $145/MWh.

    The result is the linear blend
    0.37×55 + 0.63×145 = 111.7 $/MWh
    for the wind and wind support portion of generation in the ERCOT service area.

    For comparison, Rosatom will charge the utilities in Turkey the wholesale price of $123 5/MWh under the terms of the BOO contract for 4 VVER-1200 nuclear power plants, with construction now started.

    • @David B Benson,

      Leaving solar out of ERCOT, given the complementarity option, is clearly a mistake. If generation is not there, it should be.

      • David B. Benson

        ecoquant, I stick with reality. Several sources all give what I stated; as of right now Texas has almost no solar power compared to the grid load.

    • Michael D Sweet.

      And yet combined wind and gas cycle turbine bids are lower than coal and nuclear. Perhaps there is an error in your calculations. You have included way too much gas cycle energy which artificially increases the cost. You used realized prices for wind and bid numbers for nuclear. If you used bid numbers for wind instead of realized prices you will find a different result. Rosatom power is also not always sold at the bid price.

      You are using a different standard for your nuclear calculation than you are using for wind. That is a deliberate deception. This happened earlier when you compared wind bid prices for delivered power to nuclear build prices.

      Wind is cheaper than nuclear.

      This article https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2019-02-rosatom-reportedly-reaching-new-deal-to-complete-turkish-nuclear-plant describes extensive problems with the Rosatom design. The plants may never open.

      If you cannot obtain the materials to build the plants it does not matter what the cost is.

      I think you have shown your true colors to the readers here. Telling people that black is white is not very convincing. I will not comment on nuclear on this thread again.

      • David B. Benson

        Michael D Sweet — The convex combination of wind power and OCGT power is correct. Possibly the cost figure for OCGTs from EIA is too high for Texas; I shouldn’t be surprised. All prices are bid and realized. ERCOT dispatches in merit order, least cost first.

        The price stated for Turkish utilities to purchase from Rosatom is fixed by contract. See World Nuclear News or Oilprice.com.

        Nobody is planning to build nuclear power plants in the ERCOT service area at this time. That may change in a decade when new vendors are ready to offer $36/MWh power; we shall see.

      • can we keep the discussion around Inslee, global warming and electoral politics?

        [Response: Yes please.]