Showing posts from May, 2015

Pointless Arguments

The AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) discourse is getting more and more pointless by the day. The two camps are more entrenched than ever and the continuous heavy information bombardment serves no purpose. By "the two camps" we mean, on the one side the warmists (together with the alarmists) and on the other the skeptics (together with the "deniers"). The first camp showers the second with models, anecdotes, all the latest weather news (no matter what happens, they insist it is caused by AGW), etc. The second camp fights back with more comprehensive historical climate trends and satellite data. Interestingly, the warmists seem to be "satellite deniers." The end result is that nobody moves an inch and thus all the efforts are wasted. For the warmists, AGW has become a religion of sorts and the skeptics... well, are skeptics. Can we all agree that there has to be a better way forward? Here is a proposal: stop arguing about AGW for good and

Stick to the Knitting

Yes, scientists are in their area of expertise when they study the climate, make models about it and volunteer projections for its behavior in future decades. All this is fine and it is the way it should be. Scientists (climate scientists in particular) should be listened to regarding their area of expertise. On the other hand, under no circumstances should scientists define the energy policy of a country, let alone that of the whole planet. Scientists should only be advisors. No president or leader of a global organization like the UN should delegate their responsibility to a body of scientists. Doing this could imply economic catastrophe for little, if any environmental improvement. Today, Germany is the poster boy of environmentalists and it is precisely an example of what a country should not do.  After 100 billion euros or so of investment in "renewable" energy (mainly wind and solar) they still have CO2 emissions well north of 400 grams per kWh, coa

I Want the Job!

Dear Greenpeace: we've heard the news Kumi Naidoo is leaving the organization and here I present my humble input respecting the selection of your next leader. I believe Greenpeace needs a transformational leader because, in my opinion, you are almost becoming irrelevant in the energy / climate discourse. What should that leader bring to the equation? Pragmatism.  Greenpeace has become too ideological and thus more and more disconnected from reality. Today, by far, the low CO2 energy sources in the world's energy market are hydro and nuclear. By far.  Please Enable Javascript for this widget to work Nothing else comes even close to them, thus the new Greenpeace should remove the "ban" on nuclear energy.  Also, we need to think hard if natural gas should be embraced. For the same kWh produced, natural gas emits half the CO2 of coal fired power plants. Half! This is not a rounding error but a game changer. Nuclear cann

Baseload Solar

Most of the solar PV installed capacity in the world is grid connected and is not baseload. In other words, when it produces power, other power plants have to be modulated, idled, stopped and then when later in the day solar power begins to drop, those same power plants need to ramp-up production again. This creates inefficiencies, "hidden" costs and additional CO2 emissions.  The above obviously means that solar PV does not replace any conventional (usually fossil fuel) electrical generating capacity. So, the question is: can solar PV become a baseload power supplier? The answer is yes (sort of). Let's make the numbers. The first disclaimer is that we are going to make some simplifications . Things in real life are obviously more complex, but bear with us. The project is to install a 1 GW baseload solar PV power plant. Here are the numbers: Constant required output: 1 GW. Annual capacity factor for solar PV (in a specific location th

Less Hype, More Reality

If Global Warming really exists and if it is caused mainly by our civilization's GHG emissions, then we need to tame the hype and focus on things that would actually reduce CO2 emissions without bankrupting the economy and converting most of us into paupers. Short term, this is what would probably give us the most bang for the buck: 1. Go crazy with natural gas. Yes, between now and 2040, the EIA estimates that electricity production from natural gas will grow by 88%. That is a healthy number, but if we are in a hurry to reduce CO2 emissions, then we should go "crazy" with natural gas so it may a) replace more current coal generation and b) prevent some new coal plants from going on line to begin with. Let's remember that per kWh produced, natural gas emits ~half the CO2 as coal. This is not a footnote, this is a game changer. 2. Improve efficiency standards and implement efficiency projects all over the world. Efficiency tends to be the least p