The most important post I have ever written

So, okay. I got some blog notoriety for co-authoring a book with Steve Mosher about Climategate. I got a little more for being (I think) the first to point out that we have emitted about one third of all human emissions of CO2  since the start of the current (or recently concluded, depending on your point of view) pause in the increase of global average surface temperatures. But I’m never going to get rich or famous from my blogging activities–and that’s okay. I’m not doing this for fame or riches.

A lot of the time here I am busy tweaking the noses of the Climaterati, especially those who are outrageously wrong or who spectacularly misbehave. And it’s fun and I never seem to be at a loss for examples. It’s sort of a target rich environment.

But I’m an analyst at heart. And my analysis leads me to this post here:

If you read nothing else I write, please read that post.

3000 Quads is the companion blog to The Lukewarmer’s Way. I have been trying for several years to make the point that we are sleepwalking into a future where we are burning 6 times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010, and that because we are not planning for it the odds are that we will be burning coal to get that energy.

I’m hoping someone will prove me wrong. I really am.


19 responses to “The most important post I have ever written

  1. So why are you saying we are “screwed” if this happens? CO2? Heavy Metals? Particulates? SO2? Demons?

  2. Oops, you actually said “ruined”, but my question remains.

  3. Tom,
    Chill. Coal is not nearly the bogeyman you have been led to believe.

    • Coal kills. It kills miners. The fly ash is deadly. The conventional pollution kills. And yes, I worry about CO2 emissions.

      • But I refuse to watch the Oscars so I must still be sane.

      • Fly ash can be controlled- and is quite successfully. Mining is dangerous. One of the most dangerous. Yet, like commercial deep sea fishing never runs out of (mostly) men willing to do the work. Because it pays well and is adventurous.
        The CO2 is a worry, but clearly not even in the same order of magnitude as climate obsessed believe it to be. If one is worried about CO2, one can go with things that actually work and produce little or none of it: Natural gas, hydro and nuke. But I am very confident that developing clean coal technologies (actually do-able) would make the most sense along with natural gas until fission gets even cleaner and safer.
        My wife has now grabbed the remote and is watching the execrable Oscars, so I am free to type.

  4. Beside the demons, coal is a manageable source of energy until there is a more affordable option. The mercury risk is wildly over-hyped as is the CO2 issue and the ash issue. Modern scrubbers remove all but an insignificant amount of harmful substances.

    I’m all for using nuclear, and any other reasonable source of energy, but coal is abundant and cheap.

    With China and India expanding their use of coal for electrical generation the CO2 train has left the station. Luckily (IMHO) CO2 isn’t the bogeyman that carbonphobes have made it out to be.

    Are you of the opinion that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere will do anything (significant) except increase the photosynthetic efficiency of plants?

    • Hi Lancifer

      Coal may be less dangerous in the U.S. nowadays. But what form of technology do you think they’re using in Asia and Africa? Really.

      • Tom,
        Think if the cliamte hypesters had opted to develop and offer licenses for free to burn coal with less soot, ash, and metals. Think of how much good could have been done if even a fraction of the redundant, derivative, faux climate “study” funding had gong to things to actually help people.

  5. The Orwellian labelling of carbon dioxide as a pollutant has done, and will do, a lot of damage. Most of the media uncritically repeats claims of “carbon pollution,” and ratiional discussion is endlessly delayed. Perhaps twice Ben Santer’s 17 years of global temperatures plateauing will be required before there is widespread understanding that the Al Gores were unbridled alarmists.

    My sense is that the Supreme Court was more or less forced to label CO2 a pollutant because the defendant EPA did not put up a sufficient defense – the EPA almost certainly wished to regulate CO2. A variation of the sue-and-settle theme….

  6. Hi Thomas,

    Yeah, I guess you have a point about China and India not being likely to use the most efficient (and expensive) scrubbers. One would hope that as their societies become more affluent that they will become less tolerant of dirty air.

    More affluent societies (generally) value a clean environment. My wife is from Ethiopia and we visit there frequently. I have noticed, over the last ten years, that as that third world country becomes more economically productive it has also become cleaner. They are not to our standards yet, but the delta is going in the clean direction.

    I think this is something that the environmental left often ignores. Just look at the difference between Haiti and it’s island partner the Dominican Republic. Haiti is virtually denuded of trees used to make charcoal because people are too poor to use other sources of energy.

  7. I think this gets tied in to what seems to be a focus on ineffective solutions. Since most of the emissions increases are not in the developed world, it isn’t our problem.

    OK Calm down. You know what I mean. It’s not a question of what the US can do to lower its emissions, it is how do we persuade China, India, et. al. to lower theirs.

    The only realistic answer I see is making clean energy cheap and reliable. Then persuasion is not necessary. Everyone does the right thing for all the right reasons. The west can do what it does best, innovate.

    Help me Obiwan, energy innovation is our only hope… realistically put a big dent in global emissions. I still reserve the right to claim the impacts of warming have been vastly overstated.

  8. I’m beginning to really appreciate this blog Tom – and its sibling, now that I’m aware of it. This I think is the big dividing line between lukewarmers and sceptics. I’m normally thought as one short of an opinion but here I remain pretty silent. Why? Think 1915 and how accurate their projections would have been of 1975. I don’t want to look that stupid. But I will read along.

  9. Tom. I tend to agree with Drake in that 60 year predictions are hardly ever right. Think about predicting today’s problems in 1955. We were all going to be using too cheap to meter nuclear power. Oil producing countries loved us. We were doing them a favor by buying the stuff.

    How many problems can you imagine that would be worse than co2 60 years from now.

    In 1955, I was living in a coal town and hated it; but the lively hood of everyone I knew depended on it. I am well acquainted with all its problems. But coal is the devil we know. We know which mining techniques cause the most damage. Work on stopping them. We can clean up coal fired plants. Work on making people do it.

    Just a few years ago, it seemed that horizontal drilling would solve a bunch or problems. We are still realizing how damaging it is. If the industry were open about what they are doing, we could probably figure out how to make it safe by now.

    Solar and wind with gas backup are actually increasing the greenhouse effect.

    If you’re interested in nuclear; here’s my suggestion. Let the current industry die out completely and start from scratch. The radiation doesn’t scare me, the industry does.

    • Marty,
      There is no actual evidence of horizontal drilling causing significant problems. Your repeated assertions of that point do not make you look informed.

      • Did you look at the Dimrock and Bakken studies? Those are the only studies worth looking at. The others shot down straw men. They looked at leaks around the bore hole and no one ever said that was the problem in the first place.

      • Marty, horizontal drilling and fracking have been used for over 50 years.
        The only thing worth studying is reality and reality is not cooperating with the anti-fracking movement. That is why they rely on something other than reality.

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