6/22/2017

Climate Confidential


I obtained this book from somebody that had no business in giving it to me, or to any other. **
This is a confidential manual to train climate alarmists globally. It has already been translated to 27 languages.

The manual is titled: Climate 101.



Here are some of the hard instructions included:


  • To demand trillions of dollars (euros) FIRST you have to scare people out of their wits.
  • Don't even try to explain the complexities of Earth's atmosphere. Just say: CO2 will kill us all!
  • Always project an aura of infallibility even though we don't really understand what is going on. Remember, #TheScienceIsSettled
  • Of all alternatives to reduce CO2 emissions, always select the most expensive and least reliable.
  • Always downplay the serious problems of humanity such as poverty, war and terrorism while insisting AGW is the priority.
  • Never debate against an opponent that knows the science. On second thought, never debate with anybody. They'll cream you.
  • Insist that the Energiewende is a success in spite of the fact it is falling apart at the seams.
  • Unconditionally oppose nuclear energy, the best road to a low CO2 economy. Why? There's not much money in nuclear.
  • Send loads of climate delegates to climate conferences. Why? They love the perks and we need them on our side.
  • Recruit celebrities to terrorize the public with CO2. Overlook the fact that these same celebrities are raping the planet.
  • Never settle for less than 100% RE. This is a question of moral purity. Never mind it is just not possible.
  • Root for liberal candidates all over the world. Why? They are easier to con.
  • This con won't last forever. The next trillion dollar scam in which we are already working is #UniversalBasicIncome


** This post is actually pure fiction. I have not received any manual, but the more I think about it the more probable it seems that this manual actually exists. How is it that all climate alarmists use the same tactics and talking points? 

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram

6/07/2017

Food and Energy


Making energy more expensive whether by carbon taxes or otherwise is not a good idea. Let's analize how, for example, food has energy inputs (mostly fossil fuel based) through all its processes:


  • Planting is usually heavily mechanized plus fertilizers are mainly produced from fossil fuels.
  • Harvesting is usually heavily mechanized also.
  • Transportation requires oil powered ships and / or diesel powered trucks.
  • Preparation / cooking / freezing / refrigeration is mostly fossil fuel powered.
  • Even buying the food usually requires people driving to the supermarket (or home delivery) and then what is left needs heating and refrigeration.


Thus, increasing the cost of energy would almost certainly have a significant impact on the price of food.

And sure, the poorer somebody is, the larger portion of his income has to be spent in buying food.

So, to those governments that want to impose a carbon tax we say: thanks, but no thanks. Don't play with the basic needs of your citizens. 


Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram

6/05/2017

100% RE


We hear a lot about the desirability of going 100% renewable energy (mostly solar & wind). But before we get overly excited by this vision, let's underline some practical considerations.

  • Solar panels & wind turbines are low density energy converters and thus vast mining operations would be required to produce a significant amount of our electricity. Since the lifetime of the above devices is not that long (a few decades at the most) these mining operations would have to exist in perpetuity (even if some recycling takes place). 
  • Additionally, let's underline that electricity is only a fraction of world's total energy consumption and renewables usually only replace other sources of electricity generation.
Here we can see global energy consumption (IEA 2016 report):


  • China is the #1 producer of solar panels & wind turbines so massive tonnage would need to be transported across the world (ships, trucks) and again, these shipping operations would need to continue in perpetuity.
  • 100% RE would also require voluminous industrial battery banks which would also necessitate gargantuan mining, smelting, manufacturing and transportation operations. The useful life of batteries is even less that that of panels and turbines.
  • New transmission lines will be needed to bring the renewable energy from where it is produced (low population density places) to where it is actually used. These transmission lines will also need mining, manufacturing, transportation operations. 
  • The shipping fleet worldwide would need to be significantly expanded (more mining, manufacturing, etc.). 

All of the above would certainly be very expensive and harmful to the environment. So the question is why is 100% RE even considered a desirable objective?

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram


6/01/2017

Sense of Urgency


In my opinion, the reason fusion has produced no useful electricity after more than 65 years and billions upon billions of dollars / euros invested is that there is no sense of urgency with this technology.

Fusion needs a General Groves or a very hard headed business leader that clearly sets the basic objective for fusion energy:

     Produce electricity that is as reliable and cheaper than the one produced by fission reactors.

The objective cannot be "achieve fusion energy breakeven." That will never take us anywhere.

Then, they need a strict timeline, say: produce at least one megawatt of electrical power (which is really peanuts, but a beginning) with an annual capacity factor of at least 75% in a timeframe of five years.

Then, upgrade power, and capacity factor to say, produce 100 megawatts of power in 5 more years (10 since "Groves" takes over) with an annual capacity factor of 85%.

Additionally, cost needs to be an ALL important consideration, if not we'll just be racing to a Pyrrhic victory. Thus, the objective has to be something like this:

     At the 1 megawatt level, fusion cost should be no greater than 10 times the fission cost (per MWh).
     At the 100 megawatt level, fusion cost should be no greater than 3 times the fission cost.

The numbers above should consider net electricity generation and should obviously consider the cost of capital as the fuel in fusion as well as in fission is extremely cheap.

Consequently, the objective of fusion power is not to achieve it at any cost. No, cost considerations need to be an inherent part of the design. Among other things "Groves" should ask: will you be able to achieve the cost objectives using superconductive electro-magnets? If not, the superconductors must go.

If the 5 and 10 year objectives are not met, then the project itself will be discontinued and you'll have to find another job hopefully not in the government sector.

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram


5/08/2017

Beware of Consultants


Consultants tend to over-rationalize what they see around them. For example, they visit a very successful company and then begin to think that company is successful thanks to to the way it does things. They tend not to consider that the studied company may be successful in spite of many of their practices and behaviors. The consultant then falls in love with their mental schemes and tries to preach these "success secrets" to other companies. 

By the time others begin to listen to him, the original studied company is not very successful anymore and the consultant thus ends up preaching from a vacuum. 

So, what makes a company successful in the first place?

Let's start by underlining that luck plays a part. However, as Jim Collins states: luck exists but it cannot be a consistent strategy.

Also, let's stress that companies are unique and what works on one might not work at all in another one. Thus there is not even such thing as a "great leader." Ben Horowitz states it this way: "Mark Zuckerberg is a phenomenal CEO for Facebook. He would not be a good CEO for Oracle. Similarly, Larry Ellison does a terrific job at Oracle but he would not be the right person to manage Facebook."

So, what makes a successful business leader? Here is my take although the list is obviously not all inclusive.

  • They love winning and they hate, hate, hate losing. In sports the second and the third place may receive a silver or bronze medal. In business the second and third place return home empty handed. The level of adrenaline in business has to be higher than in sports. The successful business leader has this fixation with winning. Ray Kroc said it this way: "I believe in God, family, and McDonald's - and in the office, that order is reversed. If you are running a hundred-yard dash, you aren't thinking about God while you're running. Not if you hope to win. Your mind is on the race. My race is McDonald's."
  • Integrity: this is just the ticket to the game. Nothing else to say here. 
  • Energy and street smarts: they work smart and hard. They set the pace for all the organization.
  • Humbleness: They run scared even when they are leading the pack. Andy Grove's version: "only the paranoid survive." And, Frank Wells' version: "as long as you think and act as if you're coming from behind, you have a shot at staying ahead."
  • They don't have personal and professional life. They have life. They are always in the race. 
  • They achieve high levels of engagement from their direct reports and from the rest of the organization.
The more successful a company is and the longer that success lasts, the more difficult it gets to lead that company because the enemy, in the form of complacency begins to attack from within. 

In sports the rules of the game stay mostly the same. In business the rules of the game and even the game itself is continually changing thus, only the paranoid survive.


"My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that."
- Alice in Wonderland

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram 


3/16/2017

Dumbing Down is Dumb


In the energy / climate discourse there is a lot of dumbing down being done and this is either plain dumb or even worse, arrogant.

I am an unpaid nuclear energy promoter but it annoys me no end when other promoters label it as a "zero emissions" energy source. It is not. Dumbing down energy / climate conversations is disrespectful for your audience plus, we do NOT want to sound like Greenpeacers (all feelings and no facts). So, even nuclear promoters should probably clearly underline the following:

  1. There will be more nuclear power plant accidents. This is inevitable. The airline industry will NEVER state that there will not be more airplane disasters; we shouldn't either. Yes, in spite of past and future nuclear accidents nuclear energy will almost certainly continue to be the safest energy we have; bar none. This is equivalent to air travel: even though airplane accidents are more newsworthy, planes are by far safer than automobiles per mile travelled. Actually, the most dangerous thing concerning nuclear energy is when governments overreact to nuclear accidents and order unnecessary (or unnecessarily long) evacuations. 
  2. Nuclear is a low CO2 emission technology. Actually, of the current non-marginal energy sources nuclear is the best in this respect, clocking at 12 grams per kWh (hydro measures in at 24 grams). Nuclear usually replaces coal with emissions of 820 grams per kWh. 
  3. Nuclear waste is still an issue even though the amount generated is minute compared to say coal. Some countries, like France, have pretty much solved the problem plus there are better nuclear designs in the pipeline that should produce much less waste. Also, nuclear waste can be turned into valuable material. 
  4. There is a psychological fear factor respecting nuclear. Thus, lots of (not dumbed down) education for the public will be required.
However, once we state the above points we should underline that nuclear is low pollution, low CO2, safer than any other energy we have, scalable, dense, reliable, affordable, constant, produces high paying jobs, is proven, even better designs are in the pipeline and the fuel (uranium and/or thorium) will last for at least hundreds of years. 

Once all facts are considered, it is hard to find a better energy source than nuclear.


Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram

Notes:
Relative safety of nuclear energy:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/

CO2 emissions per kWh:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources

Example of new nuclear designs in the pipeline:
http://www.transatomicpower.com/

3/15/2017

Horse in the Race


Yesterday I was having a polite conversation with a climate alarmist and even though all through the interaction you could sense a feeling of superiority from the "settled science" promoter, at the end she stated this respecting energy: "I don't have a horse in the race."

Well, if increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are really an issue, then we most definitely need a horse in the race. CO2 emissions won't go down just by "believing" in human caused global warming.

No, where the rubber meets the road we'll have to replace high carbon intensity primary energy with lower carbon alternatives.

Since hydro is pretty much maxxed out as a percentage of global primary energy and renewables need pairing power plants that end up producing most of the energy on an annual basis, we essentially have two options to reduce the CO2 intensity of primary energy:

1. Replace coal with natural gas. When used for electricity generation, natural gas produces close to half the CO2 emissions of coal. This is not a footnote; this is a game changer. Yes, replacing oil with natural gas would also reduce emissions although not as dramatically. Some countries already have large fleets of natural gas powered vehicles.

2. Replace coal and, eventually even natural gas with nuclear which is very low (although not zero) in CO2 emissions.

So, if we really care about reducing the CO2 intensity of the global economy we have to leave the philosophical ivory tower, get our hands dirty and name names respecting primary energy: natural gas and nuclear. 

We need to have a horse (or two) in the race and we have to cheer them to the finish line.


Thank you.

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram