The limitations of climate models

Nov 07, 2012 by Fabio Bergamin
Even with the latest climate models, temperature projections are fraught with uncertainty (light areas around the temperature curves for different scenarios). Credit: Josef Kuster, ETH Zurich / Knutti and Sedlacek 2012 Nature Climate Change / Galyna Andrushko, Fotolia

(Phys.org)—How accurate is the latest generation of climate models? Climate physicist Reto Knutti from ETH Zurich has compared them with old models and draws a differentiated conclusion: while climate modelling has made substantial progress in recent years, we also need to be aware of its limitations.

We know that scientists simulate the climate on the computer. A large proportion of their work, however, is devoted to improving and refining the simulations: they include recent research results into their computer models and test them with increasingly extensive sets of measurement data. Consequently, the used today are not the same as those that were used five years ago when the (IPCC) published its last report. But is the evidence from the new, more complex and more detailed models still the same? Or have five years of climate research turned the old projections upside down?

It is questions like these that hundreds of climate researchers have been pursuing in recent years, joining forces to calculate the climate of the future with all thirty-five existing models. Together with his team, Reto Knutti, a professor of climate physics, analysed the data and compared it with that of the old models. In doing so, the ETH-Zurich researchers reached the conclusion: hardly anything has changed in the projections. From today's perspective, predictions five years ago were already remarkably good. "That's great news from scientist's point of view," says Knutti. Apparently, however, it is not all good: the uncertainties in the old projections still exist. "We're still convinced that the climate is changing because of the high levels of . However, the information on how much warmer or drier it's getting is still uncertain in many places," says Knutti. One is thus inclined to complain that the last five years of have led nowhere – at least as far as the citizens or decision makers who rely on accurate projections are concerned.

Simplifying models in various ways

Knutti sees this in a somewhat more differentiated light. For him, there are plausible explanations as to why the uncertainties cannot be eliminated more effectively: they arise because each of the thirty-five models sets different priorities to break down the extremely complex climate system in such a way that it can even be simulated on a large-scale computer in the first place. The different models also yield slightly different results and thus a certain range of projections.

One would assume that the longer scientists concentrate on the climate, the more accurate the results of the model calculations should become and hence the projections of the individual models should converge. According to Knutti, however, this assumption might well be true in the long run, but not in the short term. After all, the more complex a model becomes, the more processes are factored into it and, unfortunately, the greater the uncertainty becomes in the short term. "The models might not have become more accurate in the last five years, but they are more reliable, especially since today's models consider more physical processes more realistically," says the climate physicist.

Weather more variable than one might think

As Knutti's results reveal, climate models might well enable tendencies to be calculated reliably, but they eventually reach their limits. One such limitation is also apparent in the present trend of making increasingly small-scale and short-term projections on the climate, says Knutti and refers to another study conducted by him and other climate researchers that was recently published. "Whether there will be an increase in heat waves or especially cold winters in the USA, in Europe or in Russia in the next twenty years certainly doesn't depend solely on climate change caused by humans," Knutti points out. The frequency of locally stable weather situations particularly has an impact on this. And these have greatly been influenced by such phenomena as North Atlantic Oscillation, which (unlike the long-term, manmade trend) cannot be predicted several years in advance.

The problem with the new, short-term projections: the shorter the timescale, the smaller the influence of the manmade trend and the greater that of variable weather phenomena. Especially in the mid-latitudes we live in, the weather phenomena vary greatly and the caused by humans is obscured by them. Therefore, as the researchers write in their study, it is difficult to make short and medium-term climate predictions, however good the models are.

Robust heat stress projections

The climate events that are difficult to predict also include extreme weather events such as flooding, periods of drought, or heat waves. Interestingly, however, the combined measures of temperature and atmospheric humidity can be predicted fairly well. All the climate models yield similar results for these measures, as Knutti and Erich Fischer, a senior researcher in his team, were able to demonstrate recently in a third study. "This is significant as the risk of heat stroke is greatest when it's hot and humid at the same time, for instance," says Fischer. The fact that the combined measures of temperature and atmospheric humidity can be predicted so well is linked to the fact that temperature and humidity also depend on each other through physical processes. One factor why temperatures were so high during the so-called heat wave of 2003, for example, is that it was so dry and hardly any soil moisture could evaporate anymore.

Even if projections sometimes reach their limits because of divergent predictions and the influence of unpredictable , accurate projections are thus perfectly feasible in certain areas, too – projections that will also influence the next IPCC report, which will be published in September 2013.

Explore further: Satellites sees a question mark in Tropical Storm Ana

More information: Knutti R, Sedlacek J: Robustness and uncertainties in the new CIMP5 climate model projections. Nature Climate Change, 2012,  Advance Online Publication, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1716

Deser C, Knutti R, Solomon S, Phillips AS: Communication of the role of natural variability in future North American climate, Nature Climate Change, 2012, 2: 775-779, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1562

Fischer EM, Knutti R: Robust projections of combined humidity and temperature extremes. Nature Climate Change, 2012, Advance Online Publication, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1682

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antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (14) Nov 07, 2012
Good explanation of the difference between climate and weather. It is allways worthwhile to look back at studies done on a subject and reevaluate their reliability in the light of newer studies.

Knowing results is as important as knowing the limitations of these results. Only the combination of both yield insight into what predictive power they may hold.

It's good to see that climate science holds up well under such scrutiny
Tausch
2.2 / 5 (5) Nov 07, 2012
A sense of urgency gone astray:
http://www.geoeng...-change/

S. Matthew Liao, is a professor of philosophy and bioethics.
Something that gets GhostyO's adrenaline going.
Please don't rate - the link was meant to inform, not provoke.
Eikka
2.6 / 5 (18) Nov 07, 2012
The problem is that they're looking for trends in a chaotic system that doesn't really have any.

There are essentially an infinite number of models that can be refined arbitrarily fine to reproduce and predict the known climate history, and they still won't be predictive of the long future because there is no underlying pattern or law to it. The climate can start cooling down next year, and there will be exactly infinite number of possible, plausible but wrong models that "predict" it, and only one correct model that gets it right: the climate itself.

That's the nature of chaos; even for simple systems, like for predicting the trajectory of pool balls on a billiards table, even the best models diverge after just a handful of collisions.

In all probability, all the models we have are grossly incorrect. The best anyone can hope for is that the models diverge from reality only slightly in the short term, so that we can pretend that they work.
Eikka
2.2 / 5 (13) Nov 07, 2012
Or like someone commented in an earlier discussion about climate models and predicting weather; if you have the gravitational constant wrong at the 12th decimal place, you get palm trees growing in Alaska in ten years.
Noumenon
4.2 / 5 (57) Nov 07, 2012
I would image that their models are pretty much spaghetti code by now.

Eikka, you make an interesting point. They're developing a model that retrodicts decently, but have not made any predictions. A school boy can claim he is a good artist by tracing whats already their, but try drawling whats not, and he is exposed as naive.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Nov 07, 2012
All models are wrong. Some are useful. G.E.P. Box.
Noumenon
4 / 5 (56) Nov 07, 2012
.. the last five years of climate research have led nowhere – at least as far as the citizens or decision makers who rely on accurate projections are concerned.


Actually, the last 100 years have lead effectivily nowhere, having only gained in temperature by 1.33 f°, in that time period. If we had a such graph over time periods of tens of thousands of years, 100 years would be but a imperceptible blip.

The graph the AGW alarmist like to display is effectivily Zoomed In, so of course it appears as if the temp is accelerating.

That amount is so small over such a long human time period that one could reasonably attribute it to natural variations, and in any case it has in fact been remarkably stable.

Why is humanity not responding with the same sense of urgency, as the AGW alarmist propagandize.

The answer is that we are not effected yet. When we are effected we will respond. That is the natural course of things. There will be plenty of time to react naturally.
rubberman
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 07, 2012
All models are wrong. Some are useful. G.E.P. Box.


Is this on the earth that is cooling, depopulating and everyone can have anything their heart desires? I only ask because in order to be wrong, all the models would have to have predicted a mean global decrease in temperature, a net increase in glacial and sea ice and stable weather patterns.
Tausch
2 / 5 (4) Nov 07, 2012
... models diverge from reality only slightly in the short term - ek


Still. Maps(models)to roam reality(territory) are reassuring and useful - like maps of climate will be one day.

Maps are Psychogramms. What map doesn't have a shelve life?
Eikka
2.1 / 5 (11) Nov 07, 2012
I only ask because in order to be wrong, all the models would have to have predicted a mean global decrease in temperature, a net increase in glacial and sea ice and stable weather patterns.


We only have a select set of published models, so you're basically seeing the experimenter's bias.

An example of the effect was in measuring the electron's charge, where they initially got it wrong by a significant margin. Other scientists started to refine the measuring apparatus and getting better results, yet the actual numbers that they published were still off by a mile and only slowly started to converge towards the correct answer because the experimenters couldn't believe that the original estimate was so wrong - they thought their experiments were flawed and "fixed" them until they got something that agreed better with the previous assumptions. What else could they do?

For the same reason, a climate scientist is not likely to trust or use a model that shows no warming at all.
Eikka
2.8 / 5 (11) Nov 07, 2012
Still. Maps(models)to roam reality(territory) are reassuring and useful - like maps of climate will be one day.


When cartographers started using the more precise method of triangulation to draw maps, it prompted Louis XV of France to remark that the more accurate data lost him more territory than his wars of conquest had gained.

It's not that maps are made according to what one wants to see in them, so they can be less accurate in other terms, but they can be entirely flawed to start with and give you the wrong picture.
HannesAlfven
3.3 / 5 (12) Nov 07, 2012
Nate Silver has just made his second perfect presidential election prediction, basically locking him in as the most important political data cruncher in the US. What's interesting about this is that he actually has a book on the general practice of making predictions, which appears to go into great depth on the important role of uncertainty in making predictions. This book just jumped to number 2 bestseller on Amazon.com, as of this morning. The review states:

"Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the 'prediction paradox': the more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future."
HannesAlfven
2.6 / 5 (15) Nov 07, 2012
So, there is no shortage of irony here in that we just observed a striking validation in a humility-based approach to making better predictions by appreciating the role of uncertainty to our models. But, all of that will surely be ignored, due to the election, with fresh calls by environmentalists to act on these highly uncertain climate models. One wonders what Nate Silver thinks of the climate models ...
GuruShabu
2.1 / 5 (15) Nov 07, 2012
HannesAlfven, Eikka make great points.
Besides, not a single climate model takes into account the biggest climate driver on Earth: El Niño!
So, how can one not only be sure but introduce taxes and put a burden on society on a 100 years forecast based on shallow assumptions and a great deal of believing and fudging?
I know, I will receive a lot of 1s as this matter is like religion...faith but no facts.
GuruShabu
2 / 5 (16) Nov 08, 2012
It is always the same way...some "believers" gave 1s to Eikka and HannesAlfven in spite of their absolutely correct statements...
Some will tag me as "denier" not aware on the appalling origin of the name...( http://www.holoca...eh.asp).
So, at least if you don't agree with me, please be aware of the origin o this name and stop the derogatory association some people try to put on someone that just refuses to "believe" instead.
All the facts point to the Sun as major climate promoter, plasma and other uncontrollable sources are the major drivers of climate in the Solar system and in the universe (stars). The 0.039% of CO2 of planet Earth atmosphere is the source of nothing but taxes and a huge misleading campaign (thanks to Al Gore and the greed for $$$). In fact, recently CO2 became poisonous! It takes valuable money and resources from where they should be, unfortunately.
GuruShabu
1.7 / 5 (12) Nov 08, 2012
Eikka and HannesAlfven now have an average 3 because I gave them 5...that's what our model at Physorg tells us about those 2 interesting components of this system...believe or not.
Egleton
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012
I still have trouble believing that the venerable and boring Bureau of Meteorology are nefarious racketeers.
I think some are projecting. (a psychological condition)
It is not all about the money.
All the meteorologists I know have a secure Government job and their idea of getting rich is to buy a lottery ticket.
No. Kniving Capitalists they are not.
Are there Conspiracies in the world?
You Betcha! I had one yesterday. It didn't amount to much.
Sigh
5 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
There will be plenty of time to react naturally.

Are you taking into account delayed feedback? If yes, what delays have you included in the calculations behind your prediction?
Egleton
2 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
Sigh, please don't get serious. I am having fun.
It is sadly true. Yanks have no sense of humour.
Egleton
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2012
Here is a good one I heard, "Remember folks, it is only a Theory that heat melts ice."
Tausch
2 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
"Remember folks, it is only a Theory that heat melts ice."-Eg


Can't hardly wait until that theory to become obsolete!
(The patience of youth)
Tausch
1 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
to become=becomes
(sensitive unforgiving language!)
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (49) Nov 08, 2012
There will be plenty of time to react naturally.
Are you taking into account delayed feedback? If yes, what delays have you included in the calculations behind your prediction?


Since I'm not a climate scientist, I have no such calculations. So, lets use the predictions of the climate industry instead....

The median Prediction for global temp increase is around 3°C (5.4°f), in about 100 years.

Which, they Predict would cause sea levels to rise about 15 inches, in ~100 years.

In terms of technological advance in modern times, 100 years is a very long time. Also, it's likely we will have hit 'peak oil' by then, allowing alternatives to compete.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012
Problem is that the trouble starts way before 15 inches or 3°C are reached.

Every millimeter and every tenth of a degree adds to the cost by upping the likelyhood of dams breaking, storms being more sever than they otherwise would be, crops failing, watershortages in some parts of the world, ....

It's not a digital divide where it jumps from 'no cost' to 'terrible cost' exactly 100 years from now. So the "let's wait and pray that science will save our collective asses"-attitude is not an option.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (50) Nov 08, 2012
Here is a good one I heard, "Remember folks, it is only a Theory that heat melts ice."


Will all know that climate changes, thats not a discovery. In fact if we found that it didn't, that would have been a discovery.

So, its a matter of degrees,... and we all know that if ice is at -250°f, and we put in 250°f equivalent in heat, it will not in fact melt.

If you're comparing skepticism over AGW catacysmic predictions, with skepticism that heat, eventually, causes ice to melt, your inventing absurdities, and adding more string to your straw-man.
Sigh
5 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012
The median prediction would cause sea levels to rise about 15 inches, in ~100 years.

Sea level rise is far from the only issue. I'm sure you heard of ocean acidification (which doesn't need complex models to predict) and the consequences. If not, try the last few programmes of http://www.bbc.co...scovery, where geological evidence of the last acidification is discussed. And the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere is 30-95 years. And if the Greenland ice sheet melts to lower and warmer levels, it can only grow again in the next ice age. That is rather long delayed feedback.

In terms of technological advance in modern times, 100 years is a very long time, and its hard to imagine that we will not hit 'peak oil' by then, allowing alternatives to compete.

I apply the principle behind fiscal conservatism, not saddling future generations with our debts, more broadly. Leaving them to deal with our mess doesn't strike me as the most responsible thing to do.
Noumenon
4.4 / 5 (50) Nov 08, 2012
Problem is that the trouble starts way before 15 inches or 3°C are reached.

Every millimeter and every tenth of a degree adds to the cost by upping the likelyhood of dams breaking, storms being more sever than they otherwise would be, crops failing, watershortages in some parts of the world, ....

It's not a digital divide where it jumps from 'no cost' to 'terrible cost' exactly 100 years from now. So the "let's wait and pray that science will save our collective asses"-attitude is not an option.


Yes, precisely, that is my point in fact. The AGW alarmist want human engineering solutions, while humans can't even solve basic things like world hunger and wars. The cost associated with social engineering and counter capitalist and counter human nature policies are enormous,.. which are 'wanted right now'.

We will GRADUALLY react over time, in a way that is in accord with response / effect processes which are within the context of actual market forces. We are nature too.
antialias_physorg
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2012
The AGW alarmist want human engineering solutions, while humans can't even solve basic things like world hunger and wars. The cost associated with social engineering and counter capitalist and counter human nature policies are enormous,.. which are 'wanted right now'.

I think you're missing the point. It's a lot cheaper to do something right now than to wait and see. Because the cost - if we don't act right now - will be enormous down the line. Maybe even to the point where we cannot shoulder it at all.

It would be tragic (and somewhat telling) if humanity were to go extinct just because we think we need to save a buck right now and not care about the future.

We will GRADUALLY react over time

Newsflash: Time is up. 'Gradually' is not an option anymore. That was an option 50 years ago - and we didn't take it.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (49) Nov 08, 2012
I apply the principle behind fiscal conservatism, not saddling future generations with our debts. Leaving them to deal with our mess doesn't strike me as the most responsible thing to do.


Fiscal conservatism, is not why the USA has a $16 trillion debt, ... out of control gov spending is,... it is predicted that Obama will have DOUBLE the debt by 2021. So in REALITY not even that is being solved.

My, point is apart from rational regulations and improvement in efficiency standards, we will only react if we are effected directly. Theoretical models are great, but will not cause the masses to change their behavior,... part of which is to prevent a socialist government that could force that change.

I'm just stating how I think things will play out in reality, as opposed to how I wish they would, which is what naive 'AGW enthusiasts' tend to do. I look at the momentum of and economic forces and human nature of self preservation which is at the core of freedom and capitalism
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (51) Nov 08, 2012
I think you're missing the point. It's a lot cheaper to do something right now than to wait and see. Because the cost - if we don't act right now - will be enormous down the line. Maybe even to the point where we cannot shoulder it at all.


No, you are missing the point. Theoretically, it would have been cheaper for humans to "solve war" before the conditions for war manifested. It didn't.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (50) Nov 08, 2012
Newsflash: Time is up. 'Gradually' is not an option anymore. That was an option 50 years ago - and we didn't take it.


Unfounded speculation that "time is up".. By you own admittance "we didn't take it", which supports my point here,..; There must be some effect to respond to,.. there must be some effect such that the natural forces of human nature and market forces respond to. A model will NOT cause this to happen.

Wrt "solutions" , you guys are proposing "creationalist" mentality while I'm proposing "natural evolutionist" mentality. A government is not Omniscient, and cannot plan society ahead of time. We must Evolve solutions naturally in time, by which I mean, with given human nature and economic forces in play as a working factor. Its about natural processes and effects and causes. If it means we "go down with the ship",.. its just reality playing out, do to unchangeable forces.

Put down your idealist Gaia bible already,....
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Theoretically, it would have been cheaper for humans to "solve war" before the conditions for war manifested.

But 'humans' don't make the rules. A few people at the top (which doesn't necessarily mean government, BTW) make the rules.

And these people profit by war (or fossil fuels for purposes of the issue at hand). That the rest of us pay the bill is nothing new - the people at the top think they will have enough funds to make it worthwhile. Maybe the changes will cost them a little, but the money they're making right now seems to them to be much greater than any future losses.

That all of us 'normal' people will be shit-out-of-luck isn't their concern. But it should be ours.

here must be some effect to respond to,

You know what species are called that waited for enough of an effect before responding? Extinct.

We see the effects already all around us. And we KNOW that even if we start now it'll take time before our efforts will start to show results.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2012
I think you're missing the point. It's a lot cheaper to do something right now than to wait and see. Because the cost - if we don't act right now - will be enormous down the line. Maybe even to the point where we cannot shoulder it at all.


No, you are missing the point. Theoretically, it would have been cheaper for humans to "solve war" before the conditions for war manifested. It didn't.

The solution to war is counter to the nature of some humans. Specifically those humans who have the desire to control others and plunder instead of create.
'Progressives' believe they can use state power to control that that nature. That is insane.
The only rational solution was attempted most recently when the US was created. It acknowledged that nature and devised ways to limit that power. They failed as we now see.
The solution to war? Be the biggest, meanest SOB on the block and have integrity and morality not to control others.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Nov 08, 2012
- if we don't act right now

What is the cost of acting now? And what are the actions to be taken NOW? How do you KNOW those actions won't be wrong?
AGWites lied once too often and the trust of all scientists are suspect.
Which is why the IPCC is a POLITICAL organization.
rubberman
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012
Guru, you make several claims regarding what you believe are driving the climate so I would ask that you link info. to support your claims. You would need to show an increase in solar output that matches temperature rise (picking a time period ending this year), an increase in plasma/magnetosphere reaction frequency, or a link showing that CO2's IR absorbtion band has been miscalculated. With regard to your remark about El Nino....do you believe that over a 150 year term, El nino is a net positive or net negative effect on climate?
rubberman
3 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2012
" Be the biggest, meanest SOB on the block and have integrity and morality not to control others."

Its a shame that SOB lacks those qualities.

"AGWites lied once too often and the trust of all scientists are suspect."

You will enjoy your life without the benefits of science.

Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (49) Nov 08, 2012
@AA, you're naive if you think war is caused by "a few at the top who make the rules". In any case, it is "a few at the top" who proposes to "make the rules" for humanity wrt energy use. THIS will fail.

There is no "WE should do this" or "WE should do that". Each individual in actual fact functions according to his best interest or in a way that does not leave him at a disadvantage. To "fix" this human instinct, one must force oppression upon him. This is Counter to nature.

We are still drilling for oil at full blast and haven't stopped using it. In fact there is no indication that we will even slow down its use. AGW alarmist have zero workable solutions, except those counter to human nature.

It's astonishing that you think gov can plan effects and costs ahead of time. Why do the AGW alarmist ignore such clear facts to the contrary?
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
And what are the actions to be taken NOW? How do you KNOW those actions won't be wrong?

Since we can't do any experiment we won't know if the actions are wrong or not until we implement them. Though that doesn't mean we can't make educated guesses to pick actions that will meet with positive results in all likelyhood. Like looking at temperature/CO2 charts and 'guessing in an educated manner' that it would be a pretty good idea to reduce our CO2 output.

What we DO know is that doing nothing is certainly wrong.

AGWites lied once too often and the trust of all scientists are suspect.

You don't need to trust scientists. You SHOULDN'T trust scientists (you should also not DISTRUST scientists. Trust/distrtrust in them is completely besides the point). You just need to look at the data. Anyone who can read a graph should be able to come to their own conclusions.

What is the cost of acting now?

As compared to what? Not acting now? A pittance.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
Each individual in actual fact functions according to his best interest or in a way that does not leave him at a disadvantage.

I don't think so. There are those of us who will gladly suffer a little disadvantage now if it means there are gains to be had for humanity as a whole. Be it some tax to get social security and healthcare stable for everyone or be it a bit more on our electricity bill to have clean energy and a cleaner environment in the future.

We are still drilling for oil at full blast and haven't stopped using it.

True. Because as I said: Some don't care and think the money they earn now will earn them immunity from climate change in the future.

Occasionally mass murderes at the top have to be stopped. Currently the killing is just a slow poison but we should really do something about it before we have ingested too much.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
you're naive if you think war is caused by "a few at the top who make the rules".

Have you looked at the reasons for the past wars (basically all of them throughout history)? If you have then you know I'm right. The people certainly didn't want these war (not until they were fed with some PR lies at least). There's nothing in it for the people in a war. they are the ones that get killed. they are the wones that pay the higher taxes. They are the ones that have to make the sacrifices 24/7 to keep the war economy up. But they get nothing once the war is over.
rubberman
4 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
"We are still drilling for oil at full blast and haven't stopped using it. In fact there is no indication that we will even slow down its use. AGW alarmist have zero workable solutions, except those counter to human nature.

It's astonishing that you think gov can plan effects and costs ahead of time. Why do the AGW alarmist ignore such clear facts to the contrary?"

Nou, you have your fingers on the pulse of reality with the above 2 statements. Any workable solution is indeed contrary to human nature, so said solutions will be implemented far beyond any time frame where they would have generated the most beneficial effects.

You can very accurately plan ahead of time. If the general population isn't on board then planning is just wasted time. At some point in humanities future we will have to battle another ice age, it would be nice of us to leave some fossil fuels in the ground for future generations to use to combat this.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 08, 2012
What we DO know is that doing nothing is certainly wrong.

How?
Examples of today's climate can be found in the past when there was even LESS human activity.
Humans did nothing and climate changed.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012

Have you looked at the reasons for the past wars

WWI was caused by a few at the top defending their empires.
WWII was caused by the few at the top trying to stick it to the losers.
Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War were the result of communist power grabs after WWII.
And ALL were the result of 'progressive' polices. It was the 'progressive' Wilson who wanted the US to enter WWI.
Contrary to 'libertarian' pacifism, after unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan, and a strong allied military presence there, these countries and neighbors have enjoyed peace and prosperity (if they allowed it).
rubberman
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2012
What we DO know is that doing nothing is certainly wrong.

How?
Examples of today's climate can be found in the past when there was even LESS human activity.
Humans did nothing and climate changed.


Yes, in the past natural forcings have produced climatic conditions similar to what we are witnessing today...it was called the PETM, killed 90% of the species on the entire planet and by the time CO2 had levelled of it ended up well over 1000PPM, the ensuing warm period lasted for 2 million years. Natural variability can no longer account for the shift in climate that is currently taking place as the CO2 driver was initiated first by human activities. The sequence of events for this warming period is different than in the past so we cannot expect things to unfold as they did in the past.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
Examples of today's climate can be found in the past when there was even LESS human activity.

There's some very simple physics and chemistry involved. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. You can measure that very simply in the lab.

That similar climates have been recorded in the past does not mean that the same mechanisms lead to these climates. Climate science is a bit more complicated than such simplistic 'analyses'.
Eikka
1 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Like looking at temperature/CO2 charts and 'guessing in an educated manner' that it would be a pretty good idea to reduce our CO2 output.


You seem to assume that these actions would not have any adverse effects elsewhere.

Reducing CO2 output can force us to lower our efficiency or EROEI of energy generation, which would deprive us of the resources needed to invent and build technology that solves the original problem.

For example, massive investments in wind power reduce CO2 output to some degree, but do not remove the dependency on fossil fuels, or even make fossil fuels more necessary to make the system work. They actually remove resources out of solving that problem due to the cost of maintaining a double infrastructure. It may well turn out that the delay just means we'll be releasing more CO2 out over a longer period of time and suffering from the results because we couldn't build the CO2-neutral infrastructure in due time.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
which would deprive us of the resources needed to invent and build technology that solves the original problem.

I dunno. I see no negative fallout as of yet. The changover seems to be giving the economy over here a boost (if anything it has become easier to invent tech that can solve the problem).
For example, massive investments in wind power reduce CO2 output to some degree

One thing at a time. The dependence on fossil fuels is a matter of moving from combustion engines to EVs AND having an energy infrastructure that supplies that energy without production of CO2. Don't lump these together. That's disingenuous.

It may well turn out that the delay just means we'll be releasing more CO2 out over a longer period

As opposed to just keeping on burning that stuff without changing over at all? How does that grok?
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2012
CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

So is water, an even MORE significant gas.
How do you plan to control water vapor?

That similar climates have been recorded in the past does not mean that the same mechanisms lead to these climates.


No one knows but you are willing to force others to spend their wealth on a huge experiment?
How big of you!
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
he changover seems to be giving the economy over here a boost

What are the opportunity and missed opportunity costs?
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Or if you want to make an analogy: if you're in a sinking boat, would you rather start bailing the water out with a bucket, or ignore the rising water level and try to find the hole instead? The most immediate solution is not necessarily the most rational solution.

The dependence on fossil fuels is a matter of moving from combustion engines to EVs AND having an energy infrastructure that supplies that energy without production of CO2. Don't lump these together. That's disingenuous.


Cars are actually a marginal part in the CO2 issue. They produce just around 10-20% of all the CO2 from fossil fuels. You're not seeing the full picture here.

I dunno. I see no negative fallout as of yet. The changover seems to be giving the economy over here a boost (if anything it has become easier to invent tech that can solve the problem).


I assume you're talking about Germany - have you considered that the consumer cost of electricity there has risen 2-3 fold due to the subsidies?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
"German government advisors forecast that the economy would grow by just 0.8 percent in 2013, saying in their annual report that "the low-point of economic momentum in Germany will probably be reached in the fourth quarter." "

http://www.cnbc.c...49739451

With all that free solar and wind energy, Germany should be booming.
Eikka
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012
As opposed to just keeping on burning that stuff without changing over at all? How does that grok?


As opposed to just not investing in non-solutions that can't do the job all the way. Partial solutions are not going to cut it - they just delay the inevitable. It's pointless to erect wind turbines when realistically speaking nobody knows how to fit the energy into the grid beyond a certain point. It's the same problem with all intermittent energy sources, yet these are the ones that the panicking politicians want, absolutely right now.

If you think something will come along and solve the problem in the future, wouldn't it be a better idea to not build the windmills and instead put all that money into inventing the real solution first?

If we find it, we can go ahead and put everything on that square. If we don't, that just means we avoided a total cock-up and saved our resources to try something else.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
Well, we're in the middle of a european depression. So all things considered we're still doing pretty good.

And maybe you missed this story posted here a few days ago
http://phys.org/n...mic.html

if you're in a sinking boat, would you rather start bailing the water out with a bucket, or ignore the rising water level and try to find the hole instead?

I agree. Getting rid of the problem (coal and oil) is better than fixing coal plants. And that's just what we're doing.

consumer cost of electricity there has risen 2-3 fold

Erm. I live in germany. No. My electricity prices have not risen 2-3 fold (more like 1.02 fold. I can handle that. And since I've put in place more effective appliances over the past few years my electricity bill has consistently been dropping year by year)
rubberman
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
"With all that free solar and wind energy, Germany should be booming."

Germany is chained to a currency union that is circling the drain, they will boom after the final *glub*.

"Reducing CO2 output can force us to lower our efficiency or EROEI of energy generation, which would deprive us of the resources needed to invent and build technology that solves the original problem." - eikka

If energy rationing were ever to be required, It would not be taken from R&D or scientific study, it would be taken from all non essential drawpoints first. Night lighting in unoccupied office buildings, 24 hour billboards, shutting down grids between 3am and 4 am. We could do all of this now and take a huge step towards carbon neutral.
Eikka
3 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2012
I agree. Getting rid of the problem (coal and oil) is better than fixing coal plants. And that's just what we're doing.


No you're not. You're just reducing the harm by substituting a part of the fossil energy with intermittent sources. Germany IS building more coal power, because you cannot replace them.

You don't have a solution to go all the way, and you're only wasting your time and money to pretend that you're doing something about it. You're just bailing water out with a bucket without even trying to find the hole.

My electricity prices have not risen 2-3 fold

Your total energy cost is not the same as your electricity bill. You pay more for your food, for your rent, for your everything because everyone pays more taxes to fund the government investments into renewable energy, and it isn't gaining you its worth back in real energy production. You are getting less kilowatt-hours per euro than before, even if you don't pay the increased cost directly
Eikka
2 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
Night lighting in unoccupied office buildings, 24 hour billboards, shutting down grids between 3am and 4 am. We could do all of this now and take a huge step towards carbon neutral.


Ironically, this is when wind power tends to produce most often.

Saving on intermittent renewable energy is the same as wasting it, because what you let past you isn't coming back. More appropriately, you should be freezing blocks of ice or heating large stone boulders with the energy at night to make at least some use of it and reduce your energy needs during the daytime.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
Too bad the technical community isn't promoting sealed nuclear reactors.

http://www.gen4energy.com/

http://www.fastco...-reactor

antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
Germany IS building more coal power, because you cannot replace them.

We already getting 20% of our electricity from renewables. How is this not replacing coal and nuclear?
The plan is to up this to 30% by 2020 (and if things go the way it's currently going we'll actually reach that goal a bit earlier. The most optimistic progonoses saying we'll be at 48-58% by then - though I think that is probably unrealistically high. But 100% by 2050 seems doable.) So yeah: every percent that renewables deliver doesn't need to be produced by coal. Old coal powerplants are going offline and a very few new/more efficient ones are replacing these. But that's only sensible.

You pay more for your food, for your rent, for your everything because everyone pays more taxes

The thing that has had the highest impact on rising cost of living in the past few years: cost of fossil fuels
Inflation has been pretty stable at around 2% since 1994 (before that it was significantly higher)
So. Meh.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
Ironically, this is when wind power tends to produce most often.

If more people had EVs they could recharge at night.

Lighting is an interesting subject because LEDs require very little power and could be battery fed instead of hooked up to the grid (and the battery could be set to charge when power from wind/sun is available)

I think if we put our heads together we could come up with a lot of instances where energy could be used on an 'as available' basis rather than on an 'as wanted' one without any decrease in standard of living.

Then again we're in a European grid so the problem isn't as bad as you make it out to be.
Tausch
3 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
Or if you want to make an analogy: if you're in ... ...is not necessarily the most rational solution.-Er


Humans will defer or deny - if we are, for any reason(s), not the biggest hole in this boat.

http://en.wikiped...tinction
"Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct."

Not easy to row, plug, or bucket against water in a boat labeled earth.
To implement measures to prolonged human survival (even less so for all other life forms) - is beyond rationalization or reason.
There is a name for that:
Hippocratic Oath for humanity.
There's one for doctors. And one planned for scientists. Why does reason or rationalization stop short?
Eikka
2 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
The fact is that the German government is paying up to 51.7 euro-cents per kWh as subsidies to renewable energy producers when the cost of conventional baseload capacity is 4-6 cents per kWh in wholesale prices. That means producing just 9% of the bulk electricity in renewables costs the same as producing the other 91% by conventional means, and that cannot but approximately double the price of electricity.

There's a double whammy effect because the renewables are intermittent - not adjustable - so they are not replacing the load following capacity. They are replacing the cheaper baseload capacity, and, because they're not operating steadily they need more load following capacity to operate, which is more expensive.
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 08, 2012
Well, we're in the middle of a european depression.

Carbon taxes and regulations have nothing to with this?
Eikka
2 / 5 (4) Nov 08, 2012
For example, If you have 80 parts baseload and 20 parts of adjustable energy both using fossil fuels, subsituting 5 parts of the total with wind energy removes 20 parts of the baseload energy and adds 15 parts of the adjustable with an end mix of 60:5:35.

If the baseload costs 1 cent, the wind power 10 cents and the adjustable 10 cents per unit, your system price just went up from 2.8 cents to 4.6 cents which means 64% increase in price for 5% reduction in fossil fuel use.

That's the harsh reality.

We already getting 20% of our electricity from renewables. How is this not replacing coal and nuclear?


Because you can't get rid of them. You're actually nearing the theoretical maximum of how much renewable energy you can incorporate in your own grid. The ugly fact is that you're shutting down nuclear power just to build coal plants in stead, and this is necessary because you need more adjustable power to add more renewable energy.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Then again we're in a European grid so the problem isn't as bad as you make it out to be.


You mean the grid that almost blacked out the entire Europe in 2006 when windmills in northern Germany were turning at full tilt and E.on engineers cut a single high tension line going across a river to let a ship pass underneath, resulting in a system wide chain reaction due to the power imbalance between north and south Germany, that spread all the way to France, Italy and Spain?

The longer the transport distances for electricity, the more fragile the grid and the worse the consequences when things go wrong. You cannot depend on neighboring countries to buy your excess and sell you your lack, because of what happens when they too build as much renewable power as you have.

The idea of a "virtual battery" is highly irresponsible to start with.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
You mean the grid that almost blacked out the entire Europe in 2006 when windmills in northern Germany

I think you should read up on this because it had nothing to do with the windmills. And it was the biggest power out in 30 years - and even then it affected only 1% of the people in the grid.
Pretty bad, but saying that the grid is rubbish because of something so singular is just ludicrous.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Of course Germany -can- build as much renewable power as it wants IF we assume that nobody else in Europe does so. As long as the neighboring countries are willing to buy the excess whenever it comes, however much there is, and then selling them power back, then Germany can continue to increase the portion of solar and wind energy without limit.

But looking at the big picture, if we have wind power with an average capacity factor of 0.22 it quite literally means that it cannot produce more than 22% of all the energy generated in the system. On the scale of Europe, if Germany uses that 22% to be "100% green", it forces everyone else to be 100% coal-black because they have to bend backwards to accomodate the varying output of all that wind power.

The only way to solve this problem is to basically build a large number of massive batteries, and this is the problem that nobody has a realistic answer to, because the amount of energy you need to store is almost incomprehensible.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
I think you should read up on this because it had nothing to do with the windmills


Yes and no. It wasn't because of the windmills directly - they didn't do anything out of the ordinary - but because of the way the system was set up. There was an excess of power in the north that was being used to power demand in the south, and because of a minor failure in the grid, the two areas got isolated and that caused an overload that triggered a chain reaction.

The point is that the fault came to be because it was necessary to shuttle power over such long distances, because the system was utilizing wind power that doesn't follow orders. You can't command the wind to blow in southern Germany when it blows in northern Germany.

You must transmit the power from where it happens to be to where it is needed, and that makes the grid more vulnerable to faults.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
But looking at the big picture, if we have wind power with an average capacity factor of 0.22 it quite literally means that it cannot produce more than 22% of all the energy generated in the system

Gotta build a bit more than you need, then.

The only way to solve this problem is to basically build a large number of massive batteries, and this is the problem that nobody has a realistic answer to

there's a couple good ideas out there. the easiest one would be to block up a fjord in Norway (though they are, naturally, not too thrilled about that).

Or we could build 3 of these suckers per country - which seems doable. (site is in german, but you can look at the pictures, they are pretty self explanatory)
http://eduard-hei...are.html

Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Gotta build a bit more than you need, then.


"A bit more" is actually a lot more. According to UK studies, wind power can be relied on to generate just about 3% of its nominal power at most times. Even over larger areas you would realistically have to overbuild 10 times to get any reliable output. It would make wind power not 50 cents per kWh but 5 euros per kWh.

The proposition is totally ridiculous.

Or we could build 3 of these suckers per country


I explained to you previously the shoddy math behind that site. The amount of energy they claim to need to store is grossly underestimated.

The electricity demand of Germany is around 550 TWh a year. Due to output differences winter vs. summer, you need to store on the order of 10-20% of that for at least 3-6 months. That is 50-100 TWH while each of those moving mountains is supposed to store 1.7 TWh.

You say three, I say a hundred per country, and then you have to think about non-electric energy which is 5 times more.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Besides, I don't believe in the technical feasibility of lifting a piece of bedrock a kilometer up and down. Just the amount of water needed to fill the cylinder would empty the lake seen in the picture ten times over. Where would you put it when you need to empty it?
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
According to UK studies, wind power can be relied on to generate just about 3% of its nominal power at most times.

Only if you use them without storage - which is an unrealistic scenario.
The proposition is totally ridiculous.

No. your assumptions are totally ridiculous. You constantly omit:
- grid
- storage
- energy MIX (alternative power isn't only wind)
- change in energy consumption over time
- Studies (which are cited on the site I linked to) show that storage needs are on the order of 2 days.

So all your arguments are just GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Please try to look at the realities and not cherrypick so much.

We're changing over. Just watch us. if it fails 8whcih I don't think it will) then it will help others learn how to do it better. But your 'way' is no way at all.

Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Only if you use them without storage - which is an unrealistic scenario.


But you don't have the storage! That's what I keep saying, and you don't listen because you believe in some hare-brained ideas about kilometer size stone plugs and Norwegian fjords that are absolutely ridiculous.

grid

Won't work.

- energy MIX (alternative power isn't only wind)


Seriously. You don't even have enough biomass/biogas production potential to power half the cars in Germany, and that represents only a fraction of the energy you need to produce. What else do you have? Solar energy has a Cp of less than 0.10 and doesn't shine at night which makes it even worse.

Where pray tell are you going to get your energy?

Studies (which are cited on the site I linked to) show that storage needs are on the order of 2 days.


And I say that these studies are wrong, or they are looking at a much smaller scope than 100% renewables in the system.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
change in energy consumption over time


How much less do you think you can do with?

Germany consumes about 4,000 TWh in primary energy each year. 2/3 of that is estimated to be energy losses. Turning all primary energy to run at 100% efficiency still leaves you with 1300 TWh you need to make, of which 500 TWh will be electricity and another 500 TWh is transportation and other mechanical work. The rest is mostly used for heating and industrial feedstock. (fertilizers, chemicals)

That is the scale of this problem.
Tausch
1 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
Impressive - in jeder Hinsicht.
Let the first proof of concept prototype begin.
For the link and additionally provided links - Thks.

Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2012
And I just want to ridicule the moving mountain hydraulic storage idea some more:

Another aspect is the large amount of water that will fill the cylinder capacity. The required water should be taken from a large water body. A water reservoir such as Lake Constance would be adequate, this would result in a maximum fluctuation of a single lake level of one meter


Lake Constance, in Switzerland, happens to be the third largest lake in Europe. Where do you think you can find lakes big enough to build more than a handful of these cylinders?

As is the problem with all hydraulic storage, they hold so much water per unit of energy that they can flood entire countries when made big enough to be of any relevance.
Tausch
1 / 5 (3) Nov 08, 2012
http://www.youtub...OfudeyEI
Update - this summer.
In German - approx. 30 mins. Vortrag.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 08, 2012
If you want to look for the cleanest countries in Europe in terms of CO2 output per kWh electricity, you'll see that the top of the list consists of:

(Country) - (major energy resources)
Norway - hydro power
Switzerland - hydro and nuclear
Sweden - hydro and nuclear
France - hydro and nuclear
Latvia - hydro and gas
Austria - hydro and biomass
Lithuania - hydro and nuclear
Finland - biomass and nuclear
Belgium - hydro and nuclear

See a pattern? Germany is at 22th place on that list.
http://www.eea.eu...-per-kwh

Do you think it's wise for Germany to give up on nuclear power?
GuruShabu
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 08, 2012
Water vapour is a much more powerful green house gas than CO2. Besides, it is about 1% of the volume of the atmosphere (CO2 is merely 0.039%!).
However, no one can tax water vapour so the choice for CO2.
Someone above cited me and argued that meteorologists will not become rich by "conspiracy" theories...and the rely on Lotto instead. That person lost the point completely. I am talking about HUGE grants, taxes and industries introducing "green" absolutely inefficient technologies based on the belief they will "help" the planet. Here in Australia we are the champions (unfortunately!) on this squandering of money and resources for a chimera pursue.
About links? Read the Green Hell (http://www.amazon...7D9XPS), AirCon The seriously Inconvenient Truth (http://www.youtub...JORkK8). Read more and believe less, please!
Tausch
1.5 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2012
Do you think it's wise for Germany to give up on nuclear power? - Ek

Yes.
The pattern? No country has ever relied solely on nuclear power?
The only single power sourced country/outlier is Norway?
The fallback alternative to nuclear is hydro?
Germany's renewables have little impact on CO2 output per kWh electricity?

O.k. What's the pattern to be seen?

antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2012
Do you think it's wise for Germany to give up on nuclear power?

Yes. It's what the people want with an overwhelming majority.The latest polls on the subject put the approval rate for getting rid of nuclear at above 90%.

And when all is said and done: The people are the nation - not the corporations. (We are not the US. Corporations are NOT people over here). Politicians are there to serve the will of the people - not the will of corporations.
And if we decide that we will invest in cleaner air, safer living and a better quality of life then that's what we'll do. We have the technology, the kow-how and the economic ability to do it - so why not?

See a pattern? Germany is at 22th place on that list.

All the more reason why we want this to change.
The reason why the other countries are all 'nuclear and hydro' is because alternatives weren't an option when they built their energy infrastructure.
Eikka
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2012
Yes. It's what the people want with an overwhelming majority.


That's not saying it is wise. It's just saying what the people want.

The reason why the other countries are all 'nuclear and hydro' is because alternatives weren't an option when they built their energy infrastructure.


And they still aren't, because they still can't achieve the same results with just renewable energy.

O.k. What's the pattern to be seen?


The cleanest countries have a stable baseload generation by run-of-the-river hydro and/or nuclear power. They have very little or no wind, solar, or other novel renewable resources.

These countries actually can't increase their share of wind and solar energy because they would need to give up on the stable baseload generation and invest in more polluting adjustable generation capacity.

That is to say, you can't reduce the CO2 emissions as low as these guys have with wind and solar power and without nuclear power. It's just isn't happening.
Eikka
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2012
Politicians are there to serve the will of the people - not the will of corporations.


That's exactly why the corporations need to "adjust" the will of the people, through media, through propaganda, through politics and "popular" movements like the Greenpeace.

They're not there to solve the fundamental issue of climate change, they're just there to sell you windmills, and in order to do that you must believe that it helps.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2012
That's not saying it is wise. It's just saying what the people want.

That's democracy for you. People will vote for what they want. The ones that are against it are the poorer/less educated ones who fear that their electricity bill will increase (but politicians are already trying to figure out how to give this group of people cuts that would ease the extra burden)

And they still aren't, because they still can't achieve the same results with just renewable energy.

I'll call 'baseless assumption' on that.

Many of the conutries on the list also have some geographic factors that makes it easy for them to be low CO2 producers (e.g. there is a lot of hydro potential in the nordic countries)

they would need to give up on the stable baseload generation

You're still on the 'baseload myth'-train? That has been debunked decades ago. Hydro, Biogas, geothermal and solar thermal are all baseload capable. It's an energy MIX - not the simplistic 'this' or 'that' you think.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2012
(but politicians are already trying to figure out how to give this group of people cuts that would ease the extra burden)

Until the govt is bankrupt. Then what?
Wealth is not infinite. When the state keeps plundering that wealth, regardless of what cause, wealth moves away or is not replenished. Then you have Greece,Zimbabwe, DPRK, Argentina,...

Are the laws of physics suspended when applied to 'green energy' subsidy or any redistributive economics?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2012
Until the govt is bankrupt. Then what?

The plan is to have a balanced budget by 2014 and it seems like that could become a reality (unless the European recession hits us harder than it does right now). There's still plenty of potential for introducing savings, and the changeover is already producing net economic benefits. So I wouldn't be too sceptical about the feasibility of such plans.

Wealth is not infinite.

Very true. But currently we're pumping a lot of subsidies into coal for historic reasons (coal mining used to be big in germany with a lot of jobs atached to it. But coal mining hasn't been profitable for a long time over here. For fear of what would happen if all these people lost their jobs and for energy security reasons mining was subsidized. Most of the miners have retired by now and the alternative energy sector is making coal less and less of an essential part of the energy mix)
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2012
The plan is to have a balanced budget by 2014

And how long to pay off the 80% GDP debt?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2012
That'll take some time. But before you can start paying off debts you have to stop making new ones. What's the alternative? KLeep making debts until you have to pay so much interest that you can only finance that through more debts? That's not a solution.

We're seeing what happens if you accumulate too much debts all around us. And for a couple of years now the politicians have been getting the message (finally). The move to get a balanced budget isn't entirely new, but 2014 is the first time it looks doable.

Though in my opinion they're still counting too much on the current windfall of taxes due to low unemployment and good economy to stay that way. So we'll see how it turns out. At least it's a start.
rubberman
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2012
The plan is to have a balanced budget by 2014

And how long to pay off the 80% GDP debt?


Alot less time than it will take America to pay their debt....
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2012
There are three ways a govt a pay off its debt. Inflate the currency, raise taxes and/or expand the economy. All this, of course while not increasing spending.
Govts can also decide to default.
If the govt wants a sound, robust economy it needs energy to create the wealth. Artificially taxing 'bad' energy does not support a robust, growing, free market economy.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2012
There are three ways a govt a pay off its debt. Inflate the currency, raise taxes and/or expand the economy. All this, of course while not increasing spending.

A government can also reduce costs (having to buy fossil fuels is a pretty good way to reduce costs).
If the govt wants a sound, robust economy it needs energy to create the wealth.

Wrong.
http://www.theoil...ode/8615
As you can see from the chart for germany energy usage has been flat to dropping since 1980 while GDP has steadily risen.

Artificially taxing 'bad' energy does not support a robust, growing, free market economy.

Some call it 'artificial tax' - some call it: making producers pay for the environmental cost (i.e. fossil fuels and nuclear have been let of the hook for decades and been subsidized out of the ballpark with taxpayers footing the bill. And now these forms of energy are made to pay a small share. Still nowhere near enough to undo the damage they caused/cause)
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2012
(having to buy fossil fuels is a pretty good way to reduce costs).

Not if they cost less.
Some call it 'artificial tax' - some call it: making producers pay for the environmental cost

Who gets the tax and what is done with it? Some say cigarette taxes directly fund health care. But it doesn't. Like all taxes they are dumped into the general fund and spent.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2012
Based on this date, Germany is becoming less efficient.

http://www.indexm...untry=de
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2012
Not if they cost less.

And how likely is that going to be with large parts of the country only now going into full industrialized swing? With limited supply of these fuels the prices have nowhere to go but up. It's also not really coll to be at the mercy of oil producing countries. They've tried to use that for political leverage before.

Who gets the tax and what is done with it?

All taxes go into a pool. So? But you can bet your life that if the tax ever is collected while there are no investments that match them in the appropriate sectors there'll be no shortage of people taking that to the courts.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2012
Based on this date, Germany is becoming less efficient.

http://www.indexm...untry=de

Erm. Seriously? Do you even know how to READ graphs? That one says that over the years we get MORE PPP GDP per energy unit used. Which means we're getting MORE efficient.

On second thought: that explains a lot about your opinions.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2012
Based on this date, Germany is becoming less efficient.

http://www.indexm...untry=de

Erm. Seriously? Do you even know how to READ graphs? That one says that over the years we get MORE PPP GDP per energy unit used. Which means we're getting MORE efficient.

On second thought: that explains a lot about your opinions.

The graph shows a leveling of GDP/unit energy. Less positive, zero or negative slope is LESS efficient. Less GDP/unit energy.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2012
I only see a graph that goes upwards. What the hell are you babbeling about?

Less positive slope only means a decrease in efficiency increase rate. Learn to read graphs. It's not that hard.
Tausch
1 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2012
R2 is pretending. If he is not pretending, then he is honest.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2012
I only see a graph that goes upwards. What the hell are you babbeling about?

Less positive slope only means a decrease in efficiency increase rate. Learn to read graphs. It's not that hard.

Yes, not that hard:
2008, 9.1;2009, 9.3;2010,9.2. 9.2 is GDP in purchasing power parity PER unit if energy. At best for those three years efficiency leveled off.
In 2008, ONE unit of energy created 9.1 PPP. In 2009, ONE unit of created 9.3 PPP. In 2010, ONE unit of energy crete 9.2 (less than 9.3).
Compared with CH, DE is not doing very well.
http://www.indexm...ry=de:ch
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
Compared with CH, DE is not doing very well.

Are you even aware what kinds of industry Switzerland has?

If you wnat to look at similar economies look at how much the US sucks.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2012
Compared with CH, DE is not doing very well.

Are you even aware what kinds of industry Switzerland has?

If you wnat to look at similar economies look at how much the US sucks.

I am not bragging about US efficiency, but if you want to parse it out and make excuses for D based upon CH industries, then compare US to D industry, too.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
Don't be stupid. Of course Water Vapour can be taxed.

"However, no one can tax water vapour so the choice for CO2." - GuruTardo

The problem is, it's taxation won't limit it's concentration since it's concentration is dependent upon temperature, with excess CO2 being the primary driving factor in Excess temperature.

Matches start fires, so we limit their sale to minors. Your argument is that the limit is unfair because we can't tax the air which keeps the fire burning.

Have you been an idiot all your life, or is it due to stroke or some kind of brain wasting disease?
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
Why not? It's all the efficiency the free market will provide (PLUS) the amount mandated by dat evils gubderment you are always whining about.

"I am not bragging about US efficiency," - RyggTard

When you consider the votes Ronmey lost to the Libertarians, he would have won the election if Libertarians hadn't voted against him.

Well done RyggTard. Your kind prevented your kind from getting the leader you wanted.

VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
But how many Zingwhits per florkadump of wombat juice?

Now that is the real way to measure energy efficiency.

"GDP in purchasing power parity PER unit if energy.." - RyggTard

America is dying due to the ignorance of Randism. Rand is the Russian stealth cruse missile that has done the most to destroy America.

And they still don't even realize it.

VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
The inability to read a basic graph is a trait shared among RyggTard, ParkerTard, NumenTard, and a host of other Tards.

Interesting isn't it?

They know damn well that their ideology can't be wrong, and will blow Faux news factoids out of their backsides all day to "prove" it, but can't muster enough brain cells to equal a 10 year old grade 5 student in basic graph interpretation.

"Based on this date, Germany is becoming less efficient." - RyggTard

What a pathetic loser.

http://www.indexm...untry=de

To make matters worse, this "efficiency" that RyggTard is blathering about is not efficiency at all but a measure of dollar production, not material production.

It is all just a mishmash of Libertarian/Randite idiocy of course.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2012
Compared with CH, DE is not doing very well.

Are you even aware what kinds of industry Switzerland has?


Whatever industry they have they are more efficient than D.

VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
"And how long to pay off the 80% GDP debt?" - RyggTard

That depends on how much pain they wish to endure to do it. But with a little initial pain, taxation of $1,000 per person, it could be done in around 12 years.

If you want to half that tax rate then it's more like 17 years.

Poor RyggTard. He just don't gots no clue.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
That is impossile to say since you aren't talking about efficiency, even though you claim to be doing so.

Such is the way with your kind of Randite Stupidity.

"Whatever industry they have they are more efficient than D." - RyggTard
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Over the last 50 years, Germany has gone from a burned out cinder to one of the worlds leading industrial economies.

Over the last 50 years, America has gone from one of the worlds leading industrial economies to being a burned out cinder.

Germany needs no advice from those Libertarians and Randites who are responsible for America's failure.

"Wealth is not infinite. When the state keeps plundering that wealth, regardless of what cause, wealth moves away or is not replenished." - RyggTard
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Isn't it interesting how RyggTard and others simply don't have the brian power to interpret a simple graph, but know in their heart of hearts that their economic ideological filth is absolutely right.

And they have the graphs to prove it.

Ahahahahahahahah..

"Learn to read graphs. It's not that hard." - Antialias

As I say. There is stupid, and then there is Libertarian Stupid.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
You are of course an idiot RyggTard.

"Less positive, zero or negative slope is LESS efficient" - RyggTard

A less positive slope means greater increases in "efficiency" but at a lower rate of increase.

A zero slope means no change in "efficiency".

A negative slope means a reduction in "efficiency".

Go flag down any 10 years old tho happens to be walking past your house, and pay him a dime to explain it to you.

Then go ask an 11 year old if dividing dollars per year by dollars per barrel gives you any meaningful rate of production efficiency.

What it gives you is dollars per barrel. Which is a cost.

Poor, ignorant RyggTard.

He is constantly duped by Libretarian/Randite nonsense.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
"Alot less time than it will take America to pay their debt...." - Rubberman

The U.S. debt to GDP ratio is 104% and rapidly rising by about 10% per year at this point.

The German debt to GDP ratio is 80%, and Germany has a vibrant economy.

Clearly what America needs is another tax cut for the wealthy.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Odd that RyggTard would leave out reducing spending.

I guess it isn't really high on the Randite agenda.

"There are three ways a govt a pay off its debt. Inflate the currency, raise taxes and/or expand the economy." - RyggTard
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
No rational person wants a free market economy.

Only fools do.

"Artificially taxing 'bad' energy does not support a robust, growing, free market economy." - RyggTard
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
You're still on the 'baseload myth'-train? That has been debunked decades ago. Hydro, Biogas, geothermal and solar thermal are all baseload capable. It's an energy MIX - not the simplistic 'this' or 'that' you think.


It's not a myth. Steady and predictable output is cheaper. Most of the demand is stable so most of the electricity can come from cheap but inflexible sources like nuclear power. Adding intermittent renewables makes it impossible to utilize these sources.

And you're constantly beating a strawman and not LISTENING to what I'm saying. There is only a limited amount of biogas/biomass you can make and it's not nearly enough. Your hydropower reserves are likewise limited, and solar thermal is not a stable source because the availability varies between summer and winter by a huge margin. Geothermal? In Germany? Make it work first before you call me.

To make wind and solar power work, you need nearly 80% of your energy from other sources. You simply don't have it.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Claptrap!

"To make wind and solar power work, you need nearly 80% of your energy from other sources." - Eikka

There are a variety of options available. Energy storage, increased capacity and just imagine the unfathomable. Reduced consumption during periods of reduced production.

Can't wait an extra day for that piece of crap Ikea furniture?

Awwwwwwwwwwwww.... Too bad.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
The current global economy is enormously inefficient, so much so that corporations regularly reduce production efficiency in order to increase sales.

The more your product fails, within limits, the higher your sales will be. It is known as market shaping, or market driving.

Currently, modern industrial economies are roughly 80 percent inefficient, and really closer to 90 percent once you consider that less production means fewer resources to provide the resources needed to maintain the production.

Fewer roads mean fewer trucks of asphalt are needed to maintain those roads, etc.

Leisure is the ultimate Liberty.
Wage Slavery the ultimate slavery.

Pick your future.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Most of the demand is stable
Yeah, nothing bespeaks stability quite like 50 % daily power demand swings:

http://mjays.net/...st-time/

inflexible sources like nuclear power
Why should they be all that inflexible? There's nothing in the physics that mandates inflexibility; design on the other hand can be adjusted to suit the actual demands of the marketplace.
To make wind and solar power work, you need nearly 80% of your energy from other sources.
With an old-style grid, perhaps. However, interconnect wind and solar sources across vast geographical regions, and you have a system capable of guaranteeing a certain level of minimum production at any given time (excess production above that minimum can be used on-demand, buffered, or diverted to other uses that don't require steady rates of energy flow.)

Above all, necessity is the mother of invention. Any lack of current solutions does not mean intractability.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Poor RyggTard. He failed to notice that since 2002, the GDP of Argentina has increased from 100 billion to 450 billion.

Second only to Chile in the Latin America, Argentina has the second-highest Human Development Index, and the highest GDP per capita.

"Then you have Greece,Zimbabwe, DPRK, Argentina,..." - RyggTard

Poor RyggTard. He doesn't know how to read simple graphs and he hasn't got a clue when it comes to politics.

He is the perfect "useful idiot" for his corporate masters.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2012
"Tens of thousands of Argentinians blocked the streets of Buenos Aires in the country's largest anti-government protests in more than a decade."
"According to official figures, inflation in Argentina is at 12 per cent, but economists say it is much higher. "
http://www.standa...738.html

"High crime, inflation of roughly 25 per cent a year, and a possible bid by government allies to reform the constitution to allow Ms Fernandez to run for a third term are also stoking unrest,"
"The centre-left leader won easy re-election a year ago but her approval ratings have slid since. A recent poll by the Management & Fit consultancy puts her approval rating at 31.6 per cent in October,"
http://www.telegr...dez.html
Obama in two years.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2012
"Gross domestic product will shrink 1.7 percent this year, worse than the bank's previous forecast for 1 percent growth, New York-based economist Joaquin Cottani wrote in a note to clients. With annual inflation Citigroup estimates at 25 percent, the country is experiencing so-called stagflation, he wrote. "
"She also restricted imports as she sought to widen a narrowing trade surplus, and seized the country's biggest oil company from its Spanish parent company"
"Fernandez's policies have worsened the outlook of Argentines and international investors, Cottani said. Consumer confidence fell 25 percent in July from a year earlier, "
http://www.bloomb...-1-.html
The people in New Jersey and Long Island, NY were set back over a hundred years by one storm, and their 'liberal' leaders have done little.
They have the govt they deserve.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Oh My God... After growing by 450 percent it's going to decreae by 1.7 percent.

That is the end of the world isn't it?

"Gross domestic product will shrink 1.7 percent this year" - RyggTard
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
And yet RyggTard has repeatedly claimed that massive changes in global temperature will easily be adapted to.

"The people in New Jersey and Long Island, NY were set back over a hundred years by one storm" - RyggTard

Inconsistency is the hallmark of the Libertarian/Randite quack.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Obviously Argentina needs to nationalize the drug trade.

The free market in drug running has not been good for the national economy.

"According to official figures, inflation in Argentina is at 12 per cent, but economists say it is much higher." - RyggTard

VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Friday, November 09, 2012

While there was little talk of climate change during the presidential campaign, the number of U.S. voters who see global warming as a serious problem is at an all-time high.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% of Likely U.S. Voters now say global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, including 38% who think it's Very Serious. Thirty percent (30%) don't see global warming as a serious problem, with 12% who think it's Not At All Serious.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1 / 5 (3) Nov 11, 2012
The problem is that they're looking for trends in a chaotic system that doesn't really have any.

it's amazing that so few people agree with you. particularly scientists and mathemitians. what this shows is that human beings are prone to massive group think. even scientists , when asked to opine about fields they know nothing about, are far more inclined to agree with a proposition if it is stated as one coming from 'scientists'. we trust science, especially scientists. but science is a process NOT a set of facts. and when confronted with chaotic systems like the stock market, we know they cannot be predicted. we also know that UP or DOWN you have 2 possible directions and so always a 50% chance of being correct. despite the fact that the process of predicting chaos is COIN FLIPPING> people always see one outcome as proof that the prediction itself , and prediction process itself, is legitimate. WRONG. WRONG WRONG.

chaotic systems are only predictable when overwhelmed by order.