Wake up, Greens – be honest with energy reform

Maggy Wassilieff, a regular reader, draws our attention to a paper published at ScienceDirect (pdf, 677 KB), Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems, by BP Heard et al.

This paper offers insights whichever side of the DAGW argument you find yourself on. It adheres rigorously to the ideas of removing fossil fuels and of ensuring that their replacements fully and affordably supply the increasing energy requirements of the globally burgeoning middle classes. Security and affordability are the sole criteria by which a replacement for fossil fuels could be judged feasible, yet are sadly neglected amongst the emotional claptrap that obscures the topic. The paper begins by rebuking fellow warmsters* for unjustifiably eliminating from consideration perfectly good fossil fuel replacements before the search even begins:

Much academic, governmental and non-governmental effort has focused on developing energy scenarios devoted exclusively to energy technologies classed as ‘renewable’ (mainly hydroelectricity, biomass, wind, solar, wave and geothermal), often with the explicit exclusion of nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. These imposed choices automatically foreclose potentially essential technologies. In this paper, we argue that the burden of proof for such a consequential decision is high and lies with the proponents of such plans. If certain pathways are excluded a priori, then such exclusions should be fully justified and the alternatives proven. This is rarely the case. [– emphasis added]

The conclusion is sternly resolute in condemning past failures to engage in sensible cost and benefit assessments of energy reform:

To date, efforts to assess the viability of 100% renewable systems, taking into account aspects such as financial cost, social acceptance, pace of roll-out, land use, and materials consumption, have substantially underestimated the challenge of excising fossil fuels from our energy supplies. This desire to push the 100%-renewable ideal without critical evaluation has ironically delayed the identification and implementation of effective and comprehensive decarbonization pathways. We argue that the early exclusion of other forms of technology from plans to decarbonize the global electricity supply is unsupportable, and arguably reckless. [– emphasis added]

A change in approach is required. It would be wise, they say:

to seek optimized blends of all available low-carbon technologies, with each technology rationally exploited for its respective strengths to pursue clean, low-carbon electricity-generation systems that are scalable to the demands of 10 billion people or more. Only by doing so can we hope to break the energy paradox of the last twenty years and permit human development to continue apace while rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

No amount of dim-witted zealotry from Greenpeace, WWF and their ilk, with their hordes of fanatics, can invalidate these penetrating and uncompromising insights from a team that shares their tunnel vision of global warming.

* those who believe humanity is dangerously warming the earth

6 Thoughts on “Wake up, Greens – be honest with energy reform

  1. Dennis N Horne on April 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm said:

    Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems

    1. Introduction
    The recent warming of the Earth’s climate is unequivocal [1,2]. Over the 20 years to 2015, atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has risen from around 360 ppm (ppm) to over 400 ppm; emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels have grown from approximately 6.4 Gt C year−1 in 1995 to around 9.8 Gt C year−1 in 2013 [3]. Global average temperature rise has continued, with 2016 confirmed as the warmest year on record. [continues]

    Paper doesn’t seem to have the same title as given by the loony accountant running trickszone.

    If you want some background on renewable energy, download ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’ by the late Prof David MacKay FRS. It’s dated but interesting:

    Remember necessity is the mother of invention. Solar+wind is cheaper than nuclear and avoids the need to build or connect to a grid in developing countries.

    We have no choice but to try to reduce GHG emissions. We are cooking our habitat by puffing insulation into the atmosphere. That’s the physics. Can’t argue with nature. What sane person would try?

  2. Roger Pielke Jnr also dealt with the impossibilities of Australia going 100% renewable in his book The Climate Fix

    However, we need to be careful. Using mathematical and logical reasoning is racist and oppressive

  3. Maggy Wassilieff on April 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm said:

    @Dennis Horne

    the loony accountant running trickszone.

    You are confused.
    Pierre L. Gosselin runs NoTricksZone. He has Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering qualifications.

  4. “…..puffing insulation into the atmosphere. That’s the physics”
    Aaahahahaha….Dennis Horne has been guzzling too much Koolaid Fizzicks. Insulation is a 2 edged sword…it keeps heat out as well as in. You might be interested to know that in Egypt they use hot water cylinders (element removed) to keep water cool. The source of heat is OUTSIDE the cylinder. It’s the sun stupid. The sun is the source of heat. The sun is OUTSIDE the atmosphere. That’s why the thermosphere can get up to 1500deg C with an active sun. The thermosphere keeping us COOL. …..from the 1360w/sq.m solar radiation arriving 24/7 at the top of the atmosphere,..as distinct from Trenberth’s looney Earth Energy budget cartoons, which always show about 340w/sq.m arriving at the Top of the Atmosphere.

  5. For a piece of much needed light relief, The Civilian has a bit of satire on the Green party of NZ

    I just noticed this one too. These guys are on a roll

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