Mar

28

 From Politico's Morning Energy:

The EPA today will announce its greenhouse gas rule for new power plants, advancing a regulation that - if upheld - promises to change the way the U.S. gets its power.

The proposed standard would generally require that new power plants emit carbon dioxide at a rate comparable to or better than natural gas-fired power plants, which emit about 60 percent less greenhouse gases than coal plants.

In essence, that means that new coal-fired power plants will have to capture their carbon dioxide emissions - either for storage or, in many cases, to send the CO2 to oil and gas drilling operations where it can be used to help extract fossil fuels.

But the rule also includes a phase-in period, sources knowledgeable of the rule say, so that coal plants that are ready to build may move forward. The impending announcement was first reported Monday by The Washington Post.

Carbon capture is not a practical option. This rule will be the end for coal and it will also put an end to simple cycle gas turbines. This proposed rule seems to put the US in a box; reducing the capacity of base loaded power plants at the same time reducing peakers. If upheld, I don't see how this will end well.

Gary Rogan writes: 

From the summary:

"The EPA in 2009 found that by causing or contributing to climate change, GHGs endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations."

Another offering to the false god.

Ron Schoenberg writes: 

If the loss of Arctic ice, the decline in glaciers, the unprecedented extreme weather events such as eight serious droughts in the last ten years in Texas, tornadoes in January, the last decade's global temperatures being the hottest on record, the accelerating increase in sea level, unprecedented wildfires in Russia and other parts of the world, unprecedented droughts and floods in Australia, unprecedented insurance claims due to weather, if all of this fails to convince you of the seriousness of climate change, what would it take to convince you?

Like the mythical frog in the pot slowly being brought to a boil, you might get cooked if you fail to see what is happening. I'm genuinely interested, what would have to happen for you to decide that you needed to jump out of the pot? I'm not asking you to agree that it's happening. I'm not asking you to say there's a pot being brought to a boil. I'm just asking what would have to happen for you to admit that climate change is actually occurring.
 

Stefan Jovanovich responds: 

Of course, the climate is changing; that has never been the question. The debate has been over 2 issues: (1) the loss of individual liberty for people who will have unelected authorities regulating the details of their lives in the name of "saving the planet" and (2) the cost to the poor and ordinary (sic) people of the world who will need the energy produced by fossil fuels if they are to have any hope of seeing their children become secure enough to afford ecological sensitivities.

The central fact of the climate (formerly known as "global warming") debate is that there are no longitudinal data sets for terrestrial temperatures that can be cross-checked much before 1780; for sea temperature the records are not available globally much before the 1870s. All the other "facts" on offer - the hockey stick, etc. - exist only in mathematical models. The first rule of any prescriptive science is "do no harm". The cures offered in the name of "saving the planet" will prevent people in most of the world from ever getting drinking water as potable as the stuff people have in their radiators right now (excluding the anti-freeze). Without the pumps fueled either by oil, gas or coal-powered electricity and the plastic piping, there is simply no way. Fortunately, people seem to be much more aware of the choices than they were when the Brave New World was first put on offer at Kyoto.

Charles Pennington adds: 

It's worth noting that the most prominent physicists (as opposed to "climatologists") who have actually waded into this issue have tended to be on the skeptical side. These include:

Ivan Giaver (Nobelist)

Will Happer (heavy hitting Full Professor at Princeton)

Freeman Dyson (Feynman collaborator who probably should have gotten the Nobel for work they did together)

These guys were already so prominent when they spoke out on this issue that it was impossible to blackball them, but younger, less powerful scientists would risk being shunned if they spoke out–as the Climategate emails demonstrated.

Gary Rogan writes: 

Yes, the increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an undeniable fact.

And yes, the consequence of adding more CO2 into the atmosphere is unknown.

100 ppm is one molecule in 10,000. Try to visualize 10,000 of anything and think about the effects of adding 1 to it. Conversely, if it has 3 of something, than adding 1 more could be significant. Yet we hear that other participants in that 10,000 are really important, like water and methane molecules. The oceans are also exceptionally important in both diluting and releasing CO2.

Every time I hear about some "unique" phenomenon I can visualize many other "unique" phenomena of unknown provenance or importance. Unique phenomena don't prove anything, especially if one side is highly motivated to tie these unique phenomena to the outcome they seem to be highly interested in for good or bad reasons.

Many are convinced that this is obviously true. I believe this is utter nonsense because of the political circus and evidence of fraud that surround it, but it certainly is not as implausible as many totally faith-based things because people really are releasing carbon into the atmosphere in significant quantities. All I ask for is from some predictive ability of this line of thinking before I agree that bankrupting whole industries and impoverishing millions if not billions is called for. "Can't you see, it's all around you" is not enough for me.


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1 Comment so far

  1. lon on March 29, 2012 2:33 am

    @Stefan,

    As if ‘elected’ authorities would be so much more beneficial. Your 1st of the stated two issues in non-nonsensical. Individual liberty is dictated by the state in which the ‘individual’ resides. Some states allow a bit more liberty than others. All states limit the same in correlation to the influence of an inevitable shadow plutocracy. Adelson promoting Gingrich and Israel’s Bibi comes to mind as an apt example. Through the Super-Pac, in America a single individual (think a Koch brother of a Soros) can almost dictate the placement of an ‘elected’ authority, one beholden to the whims, wishes and (even) delusion of that patron. Your argument demands a Philosopher King’s dictate to be inferior to that of a political hack, bought and sold.

    As for your second point. The cost of fossil fuels is what has relegated the ‘poor and ordinary’ peoples to despair of all hope. Fossils fuels are an energy source dominated in extraction and distribution by those very same ‘unelected” authorities you rail against. Obscene profits and the MaGoo myopia concomitant in the ever escalating attempt for more of the same, at whatever cost, are the core problem. Regardless the accuracy of the climate debate your simplistic Pollyanna promotion of ‘more of the same’ is the recipe for disaster that the majority of humanity would eventually choke upon.

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