Why I stopped reading WUWT

UPDATE: Free speech is not just “saying what you want”. It is also “not saying what you don’t want”. Wattsupwiththat is Anthony, speaking. He has the right to not say things if he doesn’t want to. I have resumed reading WUWT. I consider this particular post of mine a mistake. I will leave it here for posterity.

This post may be premature. I will monitor WUWT until the end of September, 2015. I hope that I will be posting an update to say that Anthony has come to his senses.

In this post, Anthony advises that I refer to myself as a climate change doubter, rather than a skeptic. He also announced the abolition of the word “denier” from comments.

This is an abdication to those who would call me denier. I have NO doubt that the climate changes. As such to call me “doubter” is as much a lie as to call me denier. I will not let those who would jail me for my thoughts dictate the terms of this debate. If you feel it necessary to label me or those who share my opinions on the methods of people such as the RICO 20 or Dr. Mike Mann, please feel free to call me a “free thinker”. If you want to call me denier go ahead, but please explain what you think I deny. The fact that it can be shown conclusively that calling me a denier is a lie is why I embrace that term. It clearly illustrates to me and any who know me that the person calling me a denier is a liar.

Update: October 28, 2015. Went to WUWT today to see if the policy has changed. I see the word skeptic is being used. I made a post with the word “denier” and it went straight to moderation. Very sad.

Checked again April 9, 2016. Free speech is dying a slow death at the hands of the same people who call me denier. Anthony is aiding that.

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My Letter To The Mayor Regarding a Wind Farm

Mayor Bigger:

I recently heard that there is a proposal to build a wind factory near Falconbridge. I have a cottage on Lake Wahnapitae. We have seen a bald eagle near our cottage. We have friends whom we visit at Paradise lake. They also have bald eagles. These magnificent birds will be at high risk if this proposal goes forward. That alone should raise strong objections to this installation. I cringe to think about what will happen to the mosquito population when these things have decimated the bat population. I seriously doubt that the proponent of this proposal has any plans to monitor bird and bat kills. Ask the folk at Vale what would happen if they routinely killed a few eagles, ravens, seagulls and hawks every year. This wind factory will kill birds. That is a fact. This wind factory will kill bats. That is a fact. Has the city obtained any assurance that these will be recorded and reported, as the mines are required to do?

In reviewing this installation, I urge you and the council to question the ratings published. 50 turbines with a rated capacity of 150 megawatts is likely to produce no more than 25% of this power or 37.5 megawatts. This is an optimistic estimate. Onshore wind installations generally produce less than 25% of name plate capacity, so that estimate of $350,000 annually to the city will actually be less than $94,000 annually. That is assuming that the next government doesn’t cancel all these crazy subsidies. The fact that there will be insufficient facility to pay for closure costs when this factory becomes obsolete means that the city will be home to massive, ugly hulks unless taxpayers foot the bill to remove them. I have seen the figure of $50/kW to decommission a turbine or $150,000 per turbine. This assumes recycling benefits from selling the (now worn out) turbine. I bet Vale would love to be able to include ‘recycling’ of their equipment in their closure costs. The best that can be hoped for is for scrap value or about $150 per ton, which for a 70 tonne turbine equates to $11,250. Max. If you remove the dubious benefit of “recycling” and replace it with scrap value, the cost of decommissioning skyrockets. The cost of removing one of those things will exceed $1,000,000. Don’t believe that price? Find out how much it was going to cost to tear down the old Sudbury General hospital. Better yet, demand an engineering study from the proponent with a viable plan for returning the site to nature that does not include any dubious recycle benefit other than scrap metal value. If council approves this, they will be taking on a liability in excess of $50,000,000 for an annual return of less than $100,000 for 5 to 10 years. The stated life of these things is 20 years. As the Europeans are discovering, the actual life is somewhat shorter.

Regarding the actual energy produced. You may have noticed that during the recent hot spell, the wind was pretty calm. So when air conditioning demand is at a maximum, these things will be producing nothing. Recall the winter. The coldest days here in Sudbury are the calmest days. Again. Minimum production during the period of maximum demand. They will replace some of the hydro power produced and consumed in the north. That means we will be dumping water past hydro dams that produce energy for 5 cents so we can produce wind energy at 13 cents, but only when we don’t really need it. Given that the energy they are displacing is hydro, not coal, these things will have 0 impact on CO2 production. They will not help global warming one bit. Indeed, they will increase global CO2 because CO2 is produced in the production, transportation, installation and decommissioning of these turbines.

Please consider this a strong plea to stop this atrocity from happening. Sudbury is developing a strong and well deserved reputation as a northern, natural destination as shown by the recent Amazing Race Canada coverage. This wind factory will go a long way to destroying that reputation.

John Eggert P.Eng.
Eggert Engineering Inc.

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My Estimate of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity

We have estimates of temperature and carbon dioxide levels that go back at least to the end of the Precambrian. It is generally agreed that the Cambrian era began 540 million years ago. Estimates of carbon dioxide levels for that time are generally agreed to show levels in the range of 6,000 ppm CO2. It is widely agreed that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was 279 ppm before human activity began to increase this. It will be taken as a given that human activity increases CO2. If you disagree, please go elsewhere. It will also be taken as a given that increasing CO2 increases surface temperature. Again. Go argue with someone else if you disagree.

Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity

The �equilibrium climate sensitivity� (IPCC 1990, 1996) is defined as the change in global mean temperature, T2x, that results when the climate system, or a climate model, attains a new equilibrium with the forcing change F2x resulting from a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. (IPCC Tar, chapter 9 WG1)

Given this, one can estimate the number of doublings (N) from 279 ppm to 6,000 ppm. The equation for this is:  6,000=279×2^N. Solving, N=4.426625. In significant figures. N=4.4

The change in temperature is thus ΔT=ECS X N.

Increasing Solar Flux

The reason that the earth was the same temperature 540 million years ago as it is today is postulated to be because the incoming solar flux has increased over time. How much has the solar flux increased? This is a challenging number to find. Why has it increased? The primary cause of flux variation is changes in the distance from earth to the sun. One of the known variations is the Milankovic cycle. I could only find one reference (History Of Planetary And Geological Factors by I. I. Borzenkova) to how much the solar flux has decreased over the Phanerozoic. This reference asserts that the flux increases at a rate of about 5% per billion years or 3% for the last 600 million years. (This value is the weak link in this argument. If someone has a link to a more authoritative value, please let me know.) That is the sun is 3% hotter now than it was 600 million years ago. By incredible coincidence, the change in CO2 is exactly enough to exactly offset this change. Occam’s razor might come in handy here.

What is the impact on temperature of an increase in solar flux. For the real world, one must assume, calculate and estimate a great many things. For a black body however we can be exact. So let’s use a black body. The equation for radiant heat flux is q=εσT^4. In the equation, ε is emissivity and σ is the Stephan-Boltzmann constant = 5.6703E-8 W/(m^2 K^4) . Solving for T, we get T=(q/εσ)^(1/4). We know that incoming solar flux is 1,366 W/m². This impacts on an area equal to a flat disk with a radius equal to the radius of the earth. This is radiated out by an area equal to the surface area of a sphere (almost) with a radius equal to the radius of the earth. The area of the sphere is 4 times the (update, April 9, 2016: d’oh. should be area) radius of the disk. This means that the flux that must be radiated is 1/4 of 1366 W/m² or 341.5 W/m². Solving for T, this gives a black body equilibrium temperature for a sphere of the radius of the earth of 278.6 kelvin or 5.3°C. Lower values quoted on the internet reduce the solar constant to account for reflections by clouds, water, etc. This is referred to as “albedo”. It is generally given as 0.3, hence 70% of the solar flux must be re-radiated. If we accept that, then the equilibrium temperature of the earth is -18.2°C. The effective flux used here is 239.05 W/m². OK. So a 1% change in flux is 2.3905 W/m². Using the SB equation, at 239.05 W/m², a change of 2.3905 W/m² results in a change in temperature of 0.266 kelvin. Borzenkova asserts that the change in flux will result in a change in temperature of 1.4 kelvin. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and use 1.4 instead of 0.266. For a change in solar flux of 3%, we get a temperature change of 3 X 1.4 = 4.2 kelvin.

Getting back to forcings etc. We now have a ΔT of 4.2 kelvin. We have already established 4.4 doublings. So what is the ECS? ECS= ΔT/D or 4.2/4.4 = 0.95 kelvin / doubling of CO2. How much would the solar flux have to decrease to give an ECS of 3? We will take the 4.4 doublings as constant. This gives ΔT=13.2 kelvin. This means Δq=66.8W/m² {q(T=288k)=390.1, q(T=274.8k)=323.3}. This is a change of 66.8/341.5=19.56%.

If I haven’t screwed anything up, if solar flux is the reason we have a temperature now similar to when CO2 was 6,000 and the ECS for a doubling is 3, the solar flux must have been about 20% lower at the beginning of the Phanerozoic. If the change in solar flux over the Phanerozoic is 3%, then the ECS is 0.95 or lower.

If solar flux is constant, then ECS is 0.

Some references.


Click to access E4-03-08-01.pdf


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Leckner’s Curves


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Cold . . . Hot . . . Why I Prefer Hot

At one time in my life I lived in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. I worked for some bad people (really, I’m not being “clever” here, but it isn’t currently relevant). The site where I worked was near Carmacks. The year was 1997. This is how I know cold. As you can see from here:


It was COLD. If anyone wonders what -50C is like, let me tell you. . . You can’t imagine it. I’ve been outside at -40 a lot in my life. It aint too bad, particularly if you have a sauna. But -50 is a whole new level of cold . . . And it is bad ass cold.

I’ve spent most of my life in Timmins, Ontario. There, -40 is almost assured every winter. But it was in Timmins that I experienced Hot. I clearly remember a summer from my youth. And the data is there to read.


Now I know that in the greater scheme of temperatures, +38.9C is not comparable to -50C for cold. But it is still pretty hot. Not like the hottest day in Scottsdale Arizona at 48.3, (http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USAZ0207) but it is still hot.

Hot is definitely much, MUCH more preferable to cold. An unprotected human would be dead in minutes at -50. They would be thirsty and maybe sun burnt at +50.

So John. WTF is your point here. My point is: The human race would be much MUCH better adjusted to an excessively warm planet then an excessively cold planet. If there is a climate we need to avoid, it is a cold climate. Bad things happen in the cold. Glaciers form. Water dries up (yes really). Plants don’t grow. Tasty (and not so tasty) animals die. Cold is very very hard to live in. Warm is not. Warm is easy to live in.

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Seeing as people are actually reading my blog today, I assume because of my posts at Watt’s Up With That, I’ve made a list of my favourite posts.

The Path Length Approximation
The Denier
390 ppm Atmospheric CO2, A Little or a Lot?

And one for Steve Mosher
How Well Do You Understand Radiant Heat Transfer?

If you are coming here to see what I’m on about regarding the cartoon at WUWT, please, please read

The Path Length Approximation
THIS is why I think it is critical to accept that we CAN estimate the temperature impact of CO2. Because the temperature impact of CO2 AT THE LEVELS IN OUR ATMOSPHERE, is similar to the odds of winning the lottery. Not quite 0. Never quite 0. But close enough to 0 that we can use 0 in all of our calculations. So David Hoffer and friends. WTF? Are you saying I’m wrong? Prove it. Use emperical, tested methods. And show me how to balance a blast furnace based on your “science”.

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Human Achievement Hour

Following up on the post about earth hour, I celebrate Human Achievement Hour. For those who wonder why, look at the photos of earth at night here:


In particular, look for North Korea, compared to South Korea and Zimbabwe compared to South Africa. Two sets of nations that were at equal points in advancement at the end of the second world war. In both instances, the first suffers grinding poverty, no freedom and a short life span (and not coincidentally, a low carbon footprint). The second has embraced a free market approach to society and has reaped the benefits (and also not coincidentally, a high carbon footprint). Though one can talk about the lot of blacks in South Africa, they are better off than if they lived in Zimbabwe and now that they have the real human rights of speech and rule of law, their lot is improving fast.

Energy use and the necessary high carbon footprint is THE indicator of a society that does not suffer the ravages of poverty. One cannot have true freedom while enforcing a low carbon footprint.

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Earth Hour

Today is March 31, 2012. During the first period of the hockey game, I am going to turn on all of my lights, microwave some popcorn, self clean my oven, freeze 10 trays of ice cubes, do two loads of laundry and vacuum the house. All things that are possible because of electricty.

I’ve an opinion on Earth Hour. However, Ross McKitrick has already expressed a similar view. Some would state that his saying women have been able to leave the house to work is sexist. That may be, though I doubt it. What is not sexist is that electricity has made it possible for there to be two income houses. Women have always been able to leave the home, IF they were very rich and had servants. Anyway, here is Ross’s answer about earth hour:

Earth Hour: A Dissent

by Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, Univer...

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, University of Guelph, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image via Wikipedia

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour.

Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks.

I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

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Sky Dragons

Just came across a book about slaying dragons, greenhouse gases, yada yada yada. Then I read Dr. Spencer’s post (http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/03/slaying-the-slayers-with-the-alabama-two-step/) and the comments in it. Just one question for the CO2 can’t absorb energy crowd. How pray tell can I balance the heat in a blast furnace and come up with the right mass of coking coal to add without this absorption? Because without it, my theoretical carbon balance does not match the real carbon balance. Please show your math in the comment. Well Ok. Provide a link to the math. Last time I did one of those balances it took 6 pages of foolscap.

For a bit on the actual math, from a CO2 absorption point of view see:

For why the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is actually a lot of CO2 see:

I won’t even get into some of the more esoteric stuff like “you can’t add gas to the atmosphere” which would fall under the category of arguing with fools.

Radiant heat absorption by CO2 is a well known phenomenon. It is essential in many many areas besides climate. To deny it exists in climate is to deny it exists in all of the myriad of other fields that must take it into account. That is OK, if you can provide another explanation for the reduction in radiant heat loss that occurs as the proportion of CO2 increases in the intervening gas.

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Methane that is sequestered in permafrost and deep sea clathrates has been alleged to be (a) potential serious source of positive feedback from global warming. Accepting this, I propose that we start a program immediately to mine these clathrates and burn them to CO2 and water, hence reducing the potential impact. There is very little methane in the atmosphere, hence small increases in methane will have a major impact on climate. There is a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere, hence large increases in CO2 are required to have any impact on climate.

Yes, yes, this post is short on links to sources. Google is your friend. Don’t take my word for any of this.

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