Growing an Economy without spewing out CO2

Posted by admin on May 24, 2013 in from Jerry Pournelle's blog, Politics, Technology |
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Posted: May 23, 2013, 12:51 pm – Last updated: May 23, 2013, 12:51 pm

View 775 Thursday, May 23, 2013


Talk continues on carbon taxes, and there are political claims that Oklahoma deserved destruction since it produces oil and contributes to global warming and global warming causes extreme weather. Some of the rhetoric is frantic: we cannot continue spewing out CO2 into the atmosphere. We summed up what we know for sure a couple of days ago: CO2 levels in 1800 were about 280 ppm. In 1900 they were about 300 parts per million. Current levels are about 400. The error rates are in the order of 10% for the earliest estimates, and about 3% now…

This is a pretty dramatic rise in CO2. Up to now there is little evidence that the higher levels have caused harm, and considerable evidence that they have aided plant growth. If the growth rate slowed to a stop time would erase much of the growth in atmospheric CO2 concentration from the last century. While there may be benefits to the higher CO2 levels, I think few would regret a halt in their growth.

The problem with that is energy: there can’t be any economic growth without increases in the availability of energy, and the cost of energy is a very large part of the cost of economic growth. For the most part, any increase in low cost energy availability means an increase in production of atmospheric CO2.

All of this should be obvious although many of the AGW True Believers seem to be ignoring it…

…Going Green? Then Go Nuclear

We’re environmentalists, but pretending that solar power is ready for prime time is delusional.


Over the last several decades, the cost of electricity from solar panels has declined dramatically, while the cost of building new nuclear plants has risen steadily. This has reaffirmed the long-standing view of many environmentalists that it will be cheaper and easier to reduce global warming emissions through solar electricity than with new nuclear plants. But while continuing price declines might someday make solar cheaper than nuclear, it’s not true today. Yet the mythmaking persists.

. . .

The cost of building and operating the Finnish nuclear plant over the next 20 years will be $15 billion. Over that time period, the plant will generate 225 terawatt-hours (twh) of electricity at a cost of 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Since 2000, Germany has heavily subsidized electricity production from solar panels—offering long-term contracts to producers to purchase electricity at prices substantially above wholesale rates. The resulting solar installations are expected to generate 400 twh electricity over the 20 years that the panels will receive the subsidy, at a total cost to German ratepayers of $130 billion, or 32 cents per kwh.

In short, solar electricity in Germany will cost almost five times more for every kilowatt hour of electricity it provides than Finland’s new nuclear plant. …

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