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

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

  1. Dennis N Horne on 18/04/2017 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. Andy on 18/04/2017 at 9:11 pm said:

    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 18/04/2017 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. Mack on 19/04/2017 at 10:34 pm said:

    “…..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. Andy on 20/04/2017 at 12:45 pm said:

    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

  6. Ian Cooper on 28/04/2017 at 3:31 pm said:

    That last one about Dannevegas has a certain ring of John Clarkeism about it. I always used to think that dictionaries in the Tararua District didn’t include the word ‘drought’ in them as it always seemed to be ‘green,’ the colour and not the party. That was until the great drought of 2012-13 when I saw with my own eyes parched paddocks for miles. So Tararua is not as unique as I thought, but a ‘One in a Thousand’ year event would be something to behold, especially with the rain on an angle of 61 degrees compared to normal horizontal fare on a strong Nor’ Wester, or am I thinking of Woodville?

  7. Dennis N Horne on 05/05/2017 at 6:27 am said:

    @Mack. Greenhouse effect: greenhouses gases (1) allow the incoming sunlight (shortwave) to pass, this is absorbed by the surface, warming it, (2) block most outgoing longwave (infrared, heat), which (3) means Earth surface cools less than it otherwise would (insulation). Facts not disputed by any publishing climate scientist on Earth.

    @Maggy Wassilief. I can’t tell the difference between one loony and another: notrickszone, notalotofpeopleknowthat. Neither is a climate scientist or scientist or rational and informed.

  8. Magoo on 05/05/2017 at 12:43 pm said:

    Dennis dear boy,

    ‘I can’t tell the difference between one loony and another … Neither is a climate scientist or scientist or rational and informed.’

    Take a look in the mirror and see if you can spot the difference between the reflection and yourself. 😉

  9. Dennis N Horne on 05/05/2017 at 1:48 pm said:

    I look in the mirror and see a man who knows what he’s talking about. That’s the difference.

  10. Richard Treadgold on 05/05/2017 at 5:03 pm said:


    I’m continually astounded when warmsters reject questions and comments from the sceptical layman or non-climate-scientist commentator on the sole grounds that he is not a qualified climate scientist, for it is illogical and discourteous. A strange thing is that I don’t recall seeing a sceptic take a similar view. There is every reason to test a paper against your own knowledge of science and reason; in fact the more people who do that the less chance of fooling any group. Unless you want to be held hostage to some activist agenda, you should do a little study, bring some rigorous thought to papers of interest and derive conclusions of your own. This will ensure you’re unlikely to be led far astray, so long as hubris doesn’t overwhelm you and you still heed the opinions of others. Trust is admirable but your own cautious examination, especially of extraordinary claims, is irreplaceable. The best lesson I’ve gained from this practice is that genuine scientists will certainly answer a question, but they seldom fully answer it then tell you what to do about it. They prefer to say that certain things ‘appear’ to be thus and thus. They generally leave certainty about natural processes to others.

  11. Magoo on 05/05/2017 at 6:25 pm said:

    Dennis dear boy,

    ‘I look in the mirror and see a man who knows what he’s talking about. That’s the difference.’


    Right, then you’ll know that almost all the warming since 1950 occurred during approximately 16 yrs from 1980-1996. It’s only warmed for 16 out of the last 67 years, and now the hiatus (IPCC AR5) is about to recommence there wouldn’t have been any warming for the past 20 odd years (longer than the warming period, LOL).


    I’m sure your reflection truly believes you when you tell it you know what you’re talking about – fools are so easily convinced, regardless of the evidence.

  12. Mack on 07/05/2017 at 11:53 pm said:

    @ Dennis N Horne,
    Ah yes, the “greenhouse effect”. It’s a little disease of the brain you’re afflicted with, Dennis. Your “greenhouse” disease is enhanced (love your word “enhanced’) when you feel warmer on a cloud covered night, than it was the previous clear night. I find a good cure for your “greenhouse” affliction, is to stand in the sun, in winter, in a very sheltered spot and wait until your brain gets the message that it’s the sun, stupid.
    And yes, those infra-red wavelengths that your wacko “greenhouse” theory, singles out as only arising from the surface of the Earth, and not from the Sun. Well something is seriously wrong with this diagram….
    Looky there, Dennis…Infra-red from the Sun going right down through the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface.
    Oh dear, infra-red all over the place.
    Did you know your nutty “greenhouse effect” is actually called the “radiative greenhouse effect”, Dennis?….because some of you experts keep blathering on about a “radiative imbalance” at the TOA. …but this conflicts with others of your deluded ilk, who assert “Greenhouse” gases are “heat trapping gases”…
    You’re of the “heat trapping” delusion….aren’t you, Dennis, …that’s insulation and that stuff..eh.
    Infra-red radiation travels at the speed of light and is not “trapped”.
    You “greenhouse’ believers are just conflating a “greenhouse effect” with simple thermal inertia of the atmosphere.

  13. Magoo on 12/05/2017 at 10:18 am said:

    Germany’s SolarWorld, once Europe’s biggest solar power equipment group, has gone tits up:


    The deliciously ironic & really funny thing about this is that the reason Solarworld failed is because the Chinese can produce solar panels cheaper than Germany because China doesn’t have ridiculous global warming restrictions on their energy production. China uses cheap coal and nuclear to generate electricity instead of Germany’s expensive solar panels and wind turbines – Solarworld are a victim of their own enviro-propaganda.

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