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Climate Change Real, Damaging Economy; Inaction More Costly Than Active Response

Climate change is costing us money and lives right now. The humans causing that change need to do something about it right now.

Such are the undeniable conclusions of the United States Global Change Research Program, a combined effort not of hippies but of the Departments of Defense, State, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services, Energy, and Transportation; the National Science Foundation, NASA, the EPA, the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. While we were finishing up our turkey, USGCRP released Volume 2 of its Fourth National Climate Assessment last week, Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States.

Chapter 22 focuses on impacts in the Northern Great Plains—North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming. It’ll get warmer—fewer days below 28°F, more days over 90°F—so we’ll get to wear shorts more often while we’re out cleaning up from increased floods and then watering our plants during increased droughts. (Yes, we get both.) More CO2 may mean healthier plants, but those plants will fight bigger hail:

Temperature increases of 2°–4°F projected by 2050 for the Northern Great Plains under the lower scenario (RCP4.5) are expected to result in an increase in the occurrence of both drought and heat waves; these projected trends would be greater under the higher scenario (RCP8.5). The amount, distribution, and variability of annual precipitation in the Northern Great Plains are anticipated to change, with increases in winter and spring precipitation of 10%–30% by the end of this century and a decrease in the amount of precipitation falling as snow under a higher scenario (RCP8.5).54 Summer precipitation is expected to vary across the Northern Great Plains, ranging from no change under a lower scenario (RCP4.5) to 10%–20% reductions under a higher scenario (RCP8.5).54 Further, the frequency of heavy precipitation events is projected to increase, with an increase of about 50% in the frequency of two-day heavy rainfall events by 2050 under the higher scenario (RCP8.5). The amount falling in single-day heavy events is projected to increase 8%–10% by mid-century depending on scenario.54 Although fewer hail days are expected, a 40% increase in damage potential from hail due to more frequent occurrence of larger hail is predicted for the spring months by mid-century under a higher scenario (RCP8.5).55 Even with increases in precipitation, warmer temperatures are expected to increase evaporative demand, leading to more frequent and severe droughts.56 Some of the negative effects of drying in a warmer climate are likely to be offset by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, which directly stimulate plant growth and increase plant water-use efficiency3 [USGCRP, Fourth National Climate Assessment, Vol. 2, Ch. 22, Nov. 2018].

A combination of warmer temps evaporating higher precip and farmers putting more land into crop production to adapt to climate uncertainty will mean we lose more wetlands in the prairie pothole region, meaning fewer ducks and geese to shoot.

Heat waves, flooding, and decreasing water availability will all make our energy cost more:

Energy infrastructure vulnerabilities relate to how fuel is transported and how energy is produced, generated, transmitted, and used. For example, railroads and pipelines are vulnerable to damage or disruption from increasing heavy precipitation events and associated flooding and erosion.13 Summer heat waves also damage railroad tracks and are expected to reduce thermoelectric power plant and transmission line capacity,13 though estimates of the likelihood, timeframe, or magnitude of such impacts are limited. Higher temperatures are likely to lower the yields of crops used for biofuels while shifting northward the range in which certain biofuel crops (such as corn) can be  cultivated.13  Biorefineries are vulnerable to decreasing water availability during drier summers and periods of drought.13 Declining water availability in the summer would likely increase costs for oil production operations, which require freshwater resources.13 These cost increases will lead either to reduced production or be passed on to consumers. Finally, higher maximum temperatures, longer and more severe heat waves, and higher overnight lows are expected to increase electricity demand for cooling in the summer, further stressing the power grid.13 Increasing demands for electricity in response to increasing temperatures are projected to increase costs to the power system by approximately $13–$18 million per year by 2050 under the higher scenario (RCP8.5) and $42–$80 million per year by 2090 under the same scenario (in 2015 dollars)81 [USGCRP, Ch. 22, 2018].

Science is getting too good to permit any further denial of climate change. We can even pin down the role climate change is playing in amplifying the damage done by specific weather events:

SHAPIRO: We’re also often told that a particular extreme weather event can’t be blamed on climate change. How do you balance that statement with the statement that extreme weather events are happening more often and to a greater degree because of climate change?

EKWURZEL: Well, one of the things you’ll see in this report and others – in the past few years, scientists have made extremely big advances in understanding extreme weather events, such that we can study in events such as Hurricane Harvey and figure out that it’s three times more likely in the year that it occurred than if it happened a century ago.

SHAPIRO: So you’re saying that line that we cannot attribute a specific extreme weather event to climate change might now be obsolete?

EKWURZEL: You’re right. As scientists, we now no longer say that. It’s more about the probability of risk. In fact, when Hurricane Florence was coming, scientists were looking at the background conditions. And they can figure out how much more likely Hurricane Florence was at its severity if you have the climate change we have today with heat-trapping gases. We can also remove those heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere and see would it have been as severe. It would not have been [Ari Shapiro, interviewing climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel, “Understanding the Impacts of Climate Change,” NPR: All Things Considered, 2018.11.23].

Forget the argument that we’ll hurt the economy by taking action against climate change. Climate change already has us in the soup, and we’ll cost ourselves hundreds of billions more if we do nothing:

USGCRP, Vol 2, Ch 29, 2018
USGCRP, Vol 2, Ch 29, 2018

Climate change is impacting every sector of our lives and every sector of our economy. There’s a huge national security cost. We have to defend the new coastline and Arctic coastline as the Arctic sea ice disappears. There’s increased conflict around the world as a growing global population competes for less food and water and space. There is a real cost when it comes to agriculture. We’ve seen devastating impacts on the breadbasket of the United States – California, one of our most important agricultural states, that’s been hit very hard by extreme heat and drought. The health care cost – people who are suffering the health consequences, whether it’s infectious diseases or the impact of exposure to extreme heat. And you can go on down the list.

The cost of inaction is reaching into the tens of billions of dollars. And, as this report makes clear, we will be talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in the future. So what is now maybe a 1 percent tax on our economy from climate change impacts will become a 10 percent tax on our economy [Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State University climate scientist, interviewed by Michel Martin, “National Report Confirms Climate Change ‘Is Affecting Every Sector,’ Scientist Says,” NPR: All Things Considered, 2018.11.24].

Because we’ve been willing to choose an idiot President and consumerism over science and responsibility, we’re going to lose hundreds of billions a year in labor, lives, coastal property, air quality, road damage, and other economic impacts throughout this century. But if we come to our senses and use cleaner and less energy, we can reduce those damages.

Related: Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is calling on the House to draft a Green New Deal by the end of 2019. Ocasio-Cortez wants the Green New Deal to achieve the following goals within ten years of enactment:

  1. 100% of national power generation from renewable sources;
  2. building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
  3. upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
  4. decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries;
  5. decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure;
  6. funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases;
  7. making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely carbon neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “Select Committee for a Green New Deal,” campaign website, downloaded 2018.11.25].

Hmmm… I’m not seeing any planet-saving plan like that on the website of South Dakota’s Congressman-Elect.


  1. jerry 2018-11-25

    Do the Janklow boogey and sell our water to the south. They are running out of drinkable water right now. The plans were drafted a couple of decades ago and are still viable. We just won’t have any water here for ourselves as that will be gone so good luck with your little garden, oh hail yeah!

  2. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    New nuclear + renewables + efficiency will be the way to go. Otherwise we face a choice between having to burn fossil fuels to make up for the intermittency, or not having energy available when the consumer demands it, or having too much energy sometimes.

    Going 100% renewable sounds good and feels good….until you find out that we do not have the means to globally supply the requisite critical elements that wind, solar, and energy storage need. That includes powering electric vehicles for everybody and supplying enough batteries.

    Several cities have the goal of making themselves 100% renewable….but please read the fine print. What they really mean is that they generate the equivalent of their demand with renewable energy. They are not subsisting on the energy they produce. Without energy storage, one must have a backup that does not emit carbon.

    I think many are hoping to force an all-renewable energy mix so that energy storage MUST work….like Kennedy throwing his hat over the wall so we have to go get it. But I would advise researching that kind of energy storage while simultaneously having a grid that does not rely on energy storage at all.

  3. jerry 2018-11-25

    At 5 Trillion to fix the ancient grid system, We need a different approach “Well, in the report itself, renewable energy sources (along with some types of natural gas) were among the only types of power that saw positive profit margins since 1998. That tracks with a 2017 study released by financial advisory firm Lazard, which found that utility-scale solar and wind projects were cheaper on average than every other type of energy. (That’s without subsidies like tax rebates and government grant programs that reward investment in renewables.) Even when you add the cost of utility-scale batteries—crucial for making solar or wind electricity available any time of day—the costs of those renewables see a modest price jump. They’re more expensive than most natural gas, but cheaper than most coal.” Wired 7/26/2018

    Nukes do not have any more storage for energy than coal or anything else does for right now. I like the idea of using Hoover Dam and other already existing locales for energy storage.

  4. jerry 2018-11-25

    We could utilize schools like in Watertown and Mitchell to further our own ability to generate and maintain renewable energy. Those big beautiful windchargers near White Lake that just came on line, show the positive bargain of renewable energy.

  5. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Nuclear power plants would benefit from energy storage.

    While today’s power plants can run in a flexible manner, they are just more efficient running full out. Energy storage would allow them to run in their most efficient manner while filling in the gaps for renewables with the energy that they store.

    So if you like today’s water-cooled reactors, you want energy storage to work.

    Also, I doubt that those profit margins include the future costs of replacing and maintaining, decommissioning, recycling, or waste management. I agree that they are cheap up front to build if you neglect those costs.

  6. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Pumped hydro storage would require a significant land commitment. And the response of such a system is governed by gravity…supply and demand can fluctuate quicker than that.

    Something to include in the toolkit for sure…particularly to reduce the need for the critical elements that we have to mine out of the ground for battery storage.

    But we likely would need many Hoover Dams, if not other forms of energy storage to generate the quicker bursts of power that would be required.

  7. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    And if you truly are interested in “decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries” or “funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases”, you will need a carbon-free alternative to natural gas that provides bulk power with intensity.

    You need to build the small modular reactors that provide the process heat, if not use today’s nuclear power plants to power the capture of carbon when the current electricity markets are not favorable to them. Pay them to take carbon out of the air!

  8. jerry 2018-11-25

    Nukes would be unnecessary and are. They cost to much and are dangerous. Can’t put them regionally and locally were needed. Solar and wind with storage to make more economic impact rather than a big old nuke plant for Duke Energy. More for the little guys and less for the corporations.

  9. jerry 2018-11-25

    The grid is tired and worn out. 5 trillion to fix and replace. Not a good investment.

  10. jerry 2018-11-25

    America just fired upon the refugees at our southern border who are coming here because of climate change. Hickey and his crew are having a proud moment.

  11. OldSarg 2018-11-25

    “America just fired upon the refugees (right) at our southern border” with tear gas and rubber bullets against military ages men from central America. . . They are lucky it wasn’t the military.

  12. jerry 2018-11-25

    Migrants were enveloped with tear gas after U.S. agents shot the gas, according to an Associated Press reporter on the scene. Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem.

    “Honduran migrant Ana Zuniga, 23, said she saw migrants open a small hole in concertina wire at a gap on the Mexican side of a levee, at which point U.S. agents fired tear gas at them.

    “We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,” she told the AP while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms.” Another proud moment in the sun. Kind of like My Lai, as long as there brown, they must go down.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Sorry jerry. You can’t make it expensive to build a nuclear power plant via regulations and legislation, and then complain about how expensive it is to build a nuclear power plant.

    Nuclear supporters won a vote in Taiwan to keep nuclear going.

    “After shutting down a nuclear reactor, the nation last year suffered a deadly black-out that threatened the nation’s vital semiconductor industry. ”

    “A Trend Survey Research poll commissioned by pro-nuclear activists before the vote found that one of the strongest arguments for nuclear was, “Solar and wind are not stable, and are expensive,” attracting 71% agreement.”

  14. jerry 2018-11-25

    Solar and wind give jobs to many many people. Nukes give nothing but huge overruns and still do not provide storage. I vote for jobs jobs jobs.

  15. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Nuclear provides the most jobs per kilowatt-hour generated. And we will need more kilowatt-hours in the future.

    So if you want more high-paying jobs in the future, you want nuclear :^).

  16. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    The NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute) reports the following job statistics for nuclear:

    Each power plant employs 400-700 workers.
    At peak construction, 3500 workers are employed.
    Nuclear workers earn 36% more than the average local salary.
    For every 100 nuclear power plant jobs, 66 are created in the local community.

    While having a nuclear plant is an economic positive, shutting one down is an economic negative.

    When they closed Vermont Yankee, the town had to cut its budget by half. When they closed the plant in Zion, Illinois, services were reduced AND property taxes increased by 250%.

    So if you are really interested in jobs, build a new reactor.

  17. jerry 2018-11-25

    Please, if my grandma had wheels she would be a bicycle. That is pure nonsense. Christine Todd Whitman made the same blather in 2010! It is as phony today as it was then and even more so as we are seeing jobs here in South Dakota as the result of renewable energy with more on the way!

    “Whitman claims that constructing new nuclear plants has the potential to create “as many as 70,000 jobs,” but how long would that take? According to Whitman’s own figures, building one new reactor would produce as many as 2,400 construction jobs, and, once built, would employ 800 workers. To generate those 70,000 jobs — 75 percent of them temporary — the industry would have to build 22 new reactors. Given the lack of a trained labor force, constraints on the availability of key manufacturing components, and Wall Street’s reluctance to finance them, building 22 reactors would take at least two decades to accomplish even under the rosiest scenario.

    In any case, her projection of 70,000 jobs pales in comparison with renewables. If the federal government established a standard requiring utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, it would create 297,000 new jobs, according to a 2009 analysis by my organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists. Echoing our analysis, a February 2010 study by Navigant Consulting found that a 25 percent by 2025 standard would create 274,000 jobs.”

    Renewable for energy, renewable for the economy. Renewable for the future!

  18. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Why do they have to set a standard for renewables? Shouldn’t renewables work well enough on their own to win in the marketplace?

    The 70,000 wouldn’t have included just those working at the power plants!!! If you had a thriving domestic nuclear supply chain, and were actually building reactors around the globe, and get your friendly neighborhood economist to add in the indirect effect on local and regional economies, it’s not a bad number.

    You forgot to include all of those jobs for those working to oppose nuclear too :^).

  19. grudznick 2018-11-25

    Dr. McTaggart has schooled Mr. jerry. It was entertaining to read.

  20. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    I don’t think it is a terrible thing to say that renewables need help to deliver a carbon free economy. Nuclear can provide that help.

  21. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Here is the scale of the problem.

    We consumed 28,196 trillion BTU of energy in transportation in 2017 according to the Energy Information Administration. I assume that includes everything, not just passenger vehicles.

    If you assume that each wind turbine has rating of 2.5 MW, and operates 30% of the time, to displace the transportation sector completely with electricity from wind energy would take 1.26 million wind turbines.

    Assuming that each wind turbine needs half a square kilometer, one needs about 0.629 million square kilometers, or not quite 8% of the total land area of the continental united states. If you take into account losses due to transmission and storage, this number goes up.

    To cover the same energy with nuclear, one would need about 950 power plants that generate 1000 MW-electric.

    So regardless of your favorite source of energy, we are not replacing all of our transportation sector with electricity. If the goal were 33%, and a third of that were supported by nuclear, now we are talking another 100 reactors or so…about double current capacity.

  22. Debbo 2018-11-25

    The science report included a significant loss in the ability of lines to transmit electricity.
    “Summer heat waves … are expected to reduce thermoelectric power plant and transmission line capacity, though estimates of the likelihood, timeframe, or magnitude of such impacts are limited.”

    That sounds to like, regardless of how the electricity is generated, less of it will reach the destination. So then I think, wouldn’t localized power grids be best, instead of one massive grid? Rather than send electricity so far from the wind farm, solar panels or dam, keep it within a defined limit, maybe 200 miles? There would be smaller power storage systems every 400 miles or so.

    Is a small nuclear plant feasible? In a meltdown, would it be less dangerous?

  23. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25


    Upcoming soon for the old fashioned reactors are fuels that are more resistant to higher temperatures.

    The new reactors will have fuel failure temperatures much higher than the maximum that can occur in a worst case scenario. In an emergency, personnel will basically go to lunch. They won’t be able to do much at all until the reactor dissipates heat naturally. They will run at high enough temperatures to provide process heat (which industry will need to displace natural gas).

    So we’ll see if these advantages for nuclear are allowed politically to be built.

    The best efficiency for solar/wind occurs where the people are not, like in the desert southwest for solar, but you lose in the transmission. You do not get the best efficiencies where the people are but you reduce transmission losses. However, siting issues become more troublesome next to people (i.e. NIMBY).

  24. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    And yes, the small reactors would work better in a distributed grid with our renewables. The first ones will be built at national laboratories, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them first in stand-alone situations, like in Alaska or military bases or other national labs. But they would be small enough to power a town or industrial facility.

  25. Debbo 2018-11-25

    Thanks Robert.

    I don’t see how it would matter what the electricity is generated by, transmission losses would be the same. As those increase due to climate change, per the report, I think the NIMBY issue would become a thing of the past. In fact, people would be glad to have a nearby electrical source because it would mean they have power.

  26. jerry 2018-11-25

    Yeah, let’s build a whole bunch of those rascals to make it more convenient to steal from. We have a whole bunch of lovely characters around the country now that would love to send some of that stuff through the mail.

    Here is what is going on right now in Germany, the Greens are just as popular as the conservatives and gaining every minute on this kind of platform.

    “The Greens have their roots in the environmental and peace movements of the 1970s.

    Long defined by their opposition to military intervention and nuclear energy, and their calls for a more ecologically minded Germany, they first took seats in the Bundestag in 1983 and joined two coalition governments – both with the SPD.

    Their appeal to voters was for many years somewhat diminished by infighting between the radical left (so-called “Fundis”, or fundamentalists) and the more pragmatic or centrist “Realos”, or realistics.

    It’s less of an issue for the party now. These days the Greens have their sights on the centre ground.” BBC 11/25/2018

    Seems like we all want real economic change, nukes will not get us that, only more expense and more exposure and uncompleted bankrupted plants. There is no way you can put lipstick on these pigs or little piglets as you would like to contaminate our world with.

  27. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Transmission losses would be the same, but the small reactors can go where you want them to go. You will not be restricted by where the site is sunny or windy, and if you build a gas-cooled reactor, then you don’t need to be near water.

    There probably will be a lot more things like wind/solar/storage for a home or a neighborhood or a school. Having small reactors wouldn’t change that kind of development. We’ll need a lot of carbon-free energy to displace oil from transportation (I would include anything used to generate alternative liquid fuels in that discussion).

  28. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-25

    Germany still can’t shake off coal. Yeah, no spreading of radioactive elements could occur by burning coal to back up renewables in Germany….

    Nevertheless I agree with you Jerry that the upfront cost of building today’s reactors is currently too expensive.

    But it would be interesting to build reactors with regulations based upon science, with a robust domestic supply chain, and with management that has enough experience in building several previous reactors. In many ways we have the opposite of each of those, and you wonder why the cost overruns occur.

  29. jerry 2018-11-25

    Those pesky scientists that work with designers are the culprit’s, we hope.

  30. Steve Pearson 2018-11-26

    Corey, are you driving a car? Do you or have you flown in a plane? Have you eliminated your carbon print completely?

  31. Donald Pay 2018-11-26

    Nuclear power is incompatible with free markets and democracy. It takes massive public subsidies and an international security bureaucracy to conjure nuclear power into existence. The technical and geo-political problems associated with nuclear power’s waste products are insurmountable. Nuclear power generation was huge mistake and should be immediately abandoned. The only places where nuclear energy is growing are in dictatorships and oligarchies and in third world countries being ripped off by those dictatorships and oligarchies.

    Ten years ago there was a study done in Wisconsin regarding our nuclear power industry. The advocates of nuclear power were intent on trying to reduce some state requirements in order to spur development. The utilities and nuclear companies said it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. No one was going to ever build nuclear power plants again. The utilities here said even with government subsidies, it just wouldn’t be a prudent investment.

    “Not a prudent investment” is how the real market judges nuclear power. There are, of course, filthy rich investors who have lots of stray billions hanging around to pour down the “small reactor” rabbit hole. Technological bamboozlers will shill these projects, but these vanity projects will generate lots of hype and rope in some taxpayer funding, not because of the science and technology, but of hype and the backing of certain politically favored elites. But ask these elites to live next to these projects and their waste products, and it’s “no, oh, no, we can’t do that.” Some communities actually welcomed nuclear power plants, then started screaming they didn’t want to live near the wastes. Sioux Falls was one of them.

  32. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-26

    Of course solar and wind take no subsidies at all. Your “free market” takes that energy first because there is nowhere to store it…does that really sound like a free market? Nobody can match supplies and demands with renewables only. So when there is an abundance of renewable energy, the price is very low because they have to get rid of it.

    California will be pumping out a lot of solar energy but it won’t match up with the demand, so they have to send it elsewhere for cheap. If it were a free market, you wouldn’t be able to make up your investment unless it is paid for up front.

    The technical and geopolitical issues are not insurmountable with regard to waste….the technical side is not the issue, and there are communities that are willing to store it in its current state if you let them.

    The economics of nuclear power at the moment are confounded by how your “free market” works and its emphasis on having the cheapest upfront costs only. It is a different story if you consider the hundred year costs of a complete life cycle instead of the 10 year costs, or incorporate the value of emissions without any carbon (which nuclear does in bulk). When solar and wind operate without subsidies and integrate the costs of their waste management into their economics, let me know.

    Ask the elites to live next to a wind turbine. And there is way more radioactivity being emitted by the requisite mining activities for coal, natural gas extraction, and critical elements for wind and solar than from any form of nuclear waste.

    Having said all that, I would rather we recycle the fuel so there is less to dispose of. There is cause for using nuclear energy in a flexible manner to better accommodate renewables, if not find secondary uses like pulling carbon out of the air when the “free market” is not really a “fair market”. I would like to replace older reactors with newer reactors to generate the process heat that can displace the use of natural gas in industry.

    Nuclear power has avoided millions of tons of carbon emissions since its adoption in the 50’s and 60’s…much more so than wind or solar ever has…despite the opposition to nuclear. So if it has avoided more carbon emissions than any other energy source in history, which one should we call upon to avoid even more carbon emissions?

  33. Donald Pay 2018-11-27

    Dr. McT,

    The main backers of nuclear power are Republicans, who refuse to acknowledge that greenhouse gasses are a main driver in climate change. Nuclear power and the fossil fuel industry until recently were united in their efforts to debunk climate change, reduce regulation of their waste products, and garner federal largesse for their industries, while pushing for reductions of federal research and incentives for wind and solar projects.

    Ever the political opportunists, the nuclear power industry decided to de-couple itself from the fossil fuel industry and the climate denier lie factories during the Obama Presidency. They stake their position on climate based on how much federal money they can extract. Whatever they have to say to get that money is what their position on climate change is. I expect during the Trump Presidency the nuclear industry is saying what the Trump Administration wants. That’s the kind of people they are.

  34. jerry 2018-11-27

    Nukes, crack me up, so they close down.

    “More than 350 cracks have been discovered in Hunterston B’s nuclear reactor, pushing the total over government safety limits.
    A smaller number of cracks were already known about but the figure has risen sharply following recent inspections at the North Ayrshire plant.
    Owners EDF Energy closed the site’s reactor three in March this year for more detailed investigation.
    The firm said the reactor was safe, and it hoped to bring it back into service.
    A spokeswoman insisted: “Nuclear safety is our overriding priority.”
    Correction, should read Nuclear profits are our overriding priority, there, fixed it.

    More than 350 cracks in the concrete!! I guess 349 was acceptable. These things are bombs ready to blow up like an IED. When a wind charger catches on fire, it is a torch that burns out. I think I will go for the torch rather than the mushroom.

    The next day, the workmen can come and take the damaged wind charger down and put up another one to put it back on line. Chernobyl is still shut down, but Putin wants to resurrect it, lovely. Renewable’s bring jobs, safety and prosperity.

  35. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-27


    Yes, it is a conundrum. Some do not believe man has anything to do with climate change (see isotopic data on carbon emissions to show that it comes from underground carbon…i.e. fossil fuels), and others champion the progress of science but not the nuclear science that generates the clean energy they favor.

    But then there are facts. Climate change is a fact. It is also a fact that a 100% renewable mix by itself will not match supplies with demands. One approach for the latter is to restrict demand severely and only use energy when it is available. Do you think anyone will win an election on that kind of platform???

    My approach is to generate more of our electricity with a mix of nuclear and renewables to emit no carbon at the point of generation. Nuclear can provide the process heat to displace natural gas from industrial uses, and said process heat would be helpful in recycling and waste management for renewables.

    If you want to remove a lot of carbon from the atmosphere, it also doesn’t make sense to emit a lot of carbon to power that removal. Likewise with carbon capture.

    While there is a lot of interest in both carbon capture and bulk energy storage, we should not have to wait for those to work before dealing with climate change.

  36. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-27


    You live in South Dakota and you are surprised that cracks in concrete occur? Really?

    It matters where the cracks are and what that particular concrete is designed to do.
    If it is for primary or secondary containment to trap gases (including at pressures higher than atmospheric pressure), or other structural support needs, then cracks need to be dealt with and/or the concrete needs to be repaired or replaced.

    The combined effects of heat, radiation, and environmental conditions on concrete are of interest for keeping today’s power plants operating longer…which we have to do because we are not willing to build new ones. Concrete can become brittle where it is exposed to higher temperatures and greater amounts of radiation.

    But concrete can be replaced (most of it is actually a mix of steel and concrete). There is a lot of research into different kinds of materials…mixtures of concrete and polymers for instance…to enhance safety and reduces costs to the consumer.

    Due to the reliance upon the linear no-threshold theory of radiation risk, power plants were built with an abundance of concrete. So much that nuclear power plants can take a direct hit from an airplane and keep on going. The concrete is relatively cheap, and it provides good shielding for both neutrons and gamma rays.

  37. jerry 2018-11-27

    Yepper, I live in South Dakota’s West River country. I drive along the interstate that crumbles and falls apart, but that is not holding back radiation and poison gas, so yeah, I am familiar with how concrete works and doesn’t work. I like my energy where I can see it by looking up at BOB (bright orange ball) or feeling the wind on my face. I like it where I could even put in around my house like we used to have on the old place with the 6 volt batteries. That was just before my time when there was no REA. My grandparents had that for power and my uncle had a kerosene refrigerator in addition to the wind mill charger, how about that. I still have the tower and I still have an old Zenith wind charger just like this one.

  38. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-27

    Yeah, I get that the sun and the wind are refreshing…but can you drive to the store on the sun or the wind…or does Bob have to bring his pickup truck over?

    Isn’t kerosene a fossil fuel?

  39. jerry 2018-11-27

    While old man trump embraces coal, China speeds ahead.

    “The global electric car market is pretty straightforward: China is racing ahead, and everyone else is still getting off the starting line.

    China accounts for half the world’s production and sales of electric cars, according to the research non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The country accounted for 595,000 of the 1.1 million electric vehicles (EVs) produced globally last year, and purchased almost as many. That’s more than Europe, Japan, and the United States combined (although many of those are premium cars such as Tesla’s Model S and X).”

    In the olden days, America led the way. Now we embrace steam catapults as being modern in an ever changing world.

  40. Robert McTaggart 2018-11-27

    Just remember that you have to provide enough energy for those electric vehicles, and you should meet that demand without carbon. Currently, we are on track for burning more natural gas if this transition to electrics occurs….which means we could emit less carbon per kilowatt-hour than today, but more total carbon than today.

    China happens to control the global market for most of the critical elements needed to make the batteries for electric cars. It is no longer practical to do such mining in the United States, and we have not upped our recycling game to meet the demand.

  41. jerry 2018-11-27

    Watch old man trump give China the farm while we get the corn cobs so he can make jelly with it. No jobs, no farm bill, nothing but empty words from an old feeble man.

  42. jerry 2018-11-27

    Old man trump blaming all but himself.

    “President Trump placed responsibility for recent stock market declines and this week’s General Motors plant closures and layoffs on the Federal Reserve during an interview Tuesday, shirking any personal responsibility for cracks in the economy and declaring that he is “not even a little bit happy” with his hand-selected central bank chairman.

    In a wide-ranging and sometimes discordant 20-minute interview with The Washington Post, Trump complained at length about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. “Jay” Powell, whom he nominated earlier this year. He argued that rising interest rates and other Fed policies were damaging the economy — including GM’s announcement this week that it was laying off 15 percent of its workforce — though he insisted that he is not worried about a recession.

    “I’m doing deals and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.” Washington Post 11/27/2018

    The old man has a gut all right, along with high pockets. They better impeach him quick before we lose what crumbs we have.

  43. Debbo 2018-11-27

    He sure does have a gut. He’s never met a responsibility he couldn’t shirk either.

    Toddlers are usually good at that. Chocolate smeared all over his face as he says, “I didn’t eat the candy.”

  44. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-27

    Steve, the fact that one man eats a sandwich does not excuse the glutton who eats six and prevents others from eating at all.

    Shall we compare total annual usage, Steve? Shall we compare annual walking and bicycling? We can have a numbers contest, but that won’t change the facts reported above.

    And Steve, given your eagerness to criticize my energy usage, I take it you agree with the main thesis of the post, that all of us have a duty to find ways to use less energy and thus help mitigate the damage from climate change?

    I could use less energy constructing logical arguments to respond to bad-faith discussants like Steve, who come not to help the public learn (as I do every day) but merely to broadcast his personal insecurities by throwing insults.

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