Renewable Energy by Choice, Not Force

Imagine going to the grocery store one day and noticing that food prices are up to 30% higher due to a recently passed government mandate. This mandate forces grocery stores to stock their shelves with a certain percentage of organically grown food, and customers are required to purchase at least 25% organic products each time they shop. No, this isn’t happening in Oregon”¦at least not anytime soon. Currently, shoppers have the choice to purchase organic or non-organic products, and grocery stores have the choice to provide customers with either or both.

The Oregon Renewable Energy Act (Senate Bill 838, signed into law in June 2007) has taken the opposite route and mandated that electric utilities must offer a “product” that consumers have shown they do not want. Renewable power is the “organic” version of electricity generation for the electric utility industry; and Senate Bill 838 imposes a mandate, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), on most electric utilities. Large utilities (those with 3% or more of the state’s load) are required to use more renewable energy in their electricity generation: 5% by 2011 until 2014; 15% for 2015-2019; 20% for 2020-2024; and 25% by 2025.

Although several utilities already offered this program for many years, SB 838 helped to establish a green power program in which customers voluntarily could opt into buying 100% renewable energy at a premium. This program provides a litmus test for whether the market and Oregonians are ready and willing to have more renewable power sources as part of the state’s electricity generation mix. More than 98% of Oregonians have said NO.

Currently wind, solar and geothermal energy cost more per kilowatt-hour (KwH) than fossil fuel power plants or hydroelectric power. The green power program premium pays for meeting the above-market cost of renewable generation, similar to organic food premiums. The Organic Trade Association estimates that total organic food and beverage sales were $13.8 billion in 2006, and it is estimated that sales of organic foods will increase by 71 percent from 2006 through 2011. Clearly, organic food has become mainstream without restrictive mandates and has done fantastically in the free market, even at a price premium. Consumers value the product and are willing to pay for it.

Renewable energy advocates promote renewable generation to reduce the threat of global warming by offsetting fossil fuel generation and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with it. Like organic food, green power program participators value the product and thus are willing to pay a premium for it.

According to a recent poll, 76% of Oregonians agree that “global warming is so urgent a problem that even in these difficult economic times, we should take action now.” However, actions speak louder than words. Participation rates in the voluntary green power program show just how many Oregon households really value renewable energy sources. The statewide average participation rate is a dismal 1.29%. The latest available figures show that PGE boasts the highest participation rate in the state, and one of the highest in the nation, with a residential participation rate of only 6.34%, meaning only about 6 out of 100 households value renewable power enough to pay the above-market premium. The program does show some promise, however, and a few utilities have seen increasing participation rates since the beginning of the program.

A voluntary green power program is the free-market way to finance and possibly to increase renewable energy generation without forcing unnecessary costs on the rest of the population. Just as with organic food, customers who value the “product” can purchase it at a premium; those who don’t value it shouldn’t be forced to pay for a minority’s ideology or preferences. Unfortunately, although this voluntary program exists, SB 838 mandates utilities to provide renewable power generation, even if their customers are not demanding it. These mandates create a market distortion in which more renewable power is provided by utilities than is demanded by customers. All ratepayers are forced to pay the cost through increased transmission and integration costs and adjustments for renewable power on monthly bills.

Senate Bill 838 is yet another example of government forcing the market to produce and consume a product that is neither valued nor demanded by Oregonians. Renewable Portfolio Standards should be abolished; and the renewable power market niche should thrive, or not, on its own through voluntary consumer purchases. The free market has worked for organic food; it will work for renewable energy as well.

Todd Wynn is the climate change and energy policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

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  • dean

    So in this case we can conclude the free market was tested and failed. Therefore, if the problem of global warming is real and serious, mandates are needed. The free market can’t solve every problem for us.

    • Steve Plunk

      There is mounting evidence of global cooling instead of warming. There is also evidence of manipulation of the scientific data that supports AGW. And finally there is clear evidence of major mistakes by AGW proponents in their science. The one thing we can be sure of is any steps to control AGW are imprudent at this time.

      The free market may not solve every problem but it has a track record far better than government intervention.

      JesseO brings up the argument of the external costs. The problem is everything we do has external costs that are conveniently ignored. I doubt having the government choose which industries must account for those costs is a good idea. Another case of someone picking winners and losers.

      External costs are also subject to manipulation as far as what value to assign. Pollution to one person may not be valued the same as another may value it. So once again we have government assigning costs and picking winners and losers. Too much power for my tastes.

      The free market can and does allow people to internalize some costs. We can choose alternative energy on our power bills. We can choose to drive less polluting cars that may cost more and have fewer features. The point is the market is already taking some of these costs into account and letting people choose freely what they want.

  • JesseO

    Let’s make a deal: internalize the externalities of coal and oil pollution, and we’ll go with the free market approach. Otherwise, your argument makes no sense.

  • Jerry

    Organic is the only food for me
    It is clean and chemical free
    I eat it every day
    No matter what I pay
    So green up you crazy fools
    And learn about organic tools
    So the population can be fed
    Before we all wind up dead.

    • Dan


      Your little poems make me sick. Please stop.

      • Jerry

        I suspect you could simply choose not to read them.

  • Dan


    “if the problem of global warming is real and serious”

    -I like to see that you are coming around on the whole global warming scene. Catalyst must be getting to you.

    Todd’s article seems well stated. As I believe the united states democratic government is supposed to reflect the wishes and values of its people not impose values on its people. Obviously Oregonians dont value the power source enough to pay for it. Why force them? Maybe the people are showing that they arent too worried about global warming because they already realize it is a scam and blown out of proportion.


    You may be right. The day we impose a carbon tax or some sourt of charge on carbon should be the day that we eliminate subsidies on renewable power generation since that is supposedly why we give subsidies on these “preferred” power generators.
    Even with a tax on carbon, I dont see wind or solar being our nations power source.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The point is people are starting to conclude Global Warming is a farce.

    Renewable energy and green stuff are all well and good, but hardly of an emergency nature. Its more a desire than an urgent need.

    Pretty reasonable it would seem.

    The only predictable AGW event that ever seems to materialize is NASA getting caught making up numbers.

    The point is, some perceive a health or taste benefit from organic foods, there is value in the additional cost. With gourmet power, the product is the same in terms of end use. Thus the benefit is entirely ideological and apparently not valued by the consumer.

    The interesting contrast to all of this is such green products as hybrid cars, especially the Prius.

    Is there value there? Sure, the customer saves on gasoline.

    However, given that a lot of that savings is eaten up by the additional cost of the car something more must be at play.

    The additional value, and the reason why these cars cant be kept in stock, is they are status symbol. In driving one your environmental red sash is on display for all to see, the Prius constituting the ultimate in regalia for that crowd.

    So what have we learned?

    You want to get more people to buy gourmet power? Simple, make it a status symbol the same as the Prius. Environmentalists are about as status conscious a bunch as one can find. This is why all their clothing will tend to have huge logos such as REI, The North Face affixed, so all will be aware. This is why the Prius sells. Figure out a way for the consumer to in effect wear a logo saying they buy this gourmet power and you have the problem solved.

    Some suggestions:

    Have different colour transformer boxes for their houses. These often sit out front and thus would be on display.

    Power companies could buy up Prius cars from the manufacturer and then reissue them with some sort of limited edition paint job that would notify all who see it that the person is not only a Prius driver, but also a proper power user as well.

    • dean

      For Dan…no…not coming around. I am evidence based. The overwhelming evidence remains that global warming is real and serious. I used “if” as a modifier because we lack 100% certainty on this issue, not because of weak arguments against global warming made by multiple Catalyst posters. If the evidence turns the other way, I’ll turn with it.

      Rupert says: “The only predictable AGW event that ever seems to materialize is NASA getting caught making up numbers.”

      Of course, this is only in Rupert’s head. Predictive events that have materialized include: atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulations, rising temperatures across the globe, an increase in extreme weather events, rising sea levels, increased arctic sea ice melting, increased continental ice sheet melting, early migrations of animals, increased forest diseases and fires, early flowering, and a whole lot of other phenomena I don’t feel like tutoring Rupert on since he accepts none of this reality.

      The analogy of green power with organic foods is faulty. As Rupert points out (and I agree with him here,) eating organic has direct perceived benefits to the consumer that some find the extra price worth paying. If I sign up for green power, which I have by the way, I don’t actually get green power and don’t get ANY direct benefits perceived or otherwise to my health or hearth. What I get is an extra charge on my bill. Like buying a salmon license plate, I’m making a contribution. Many if not most people support green power and want more of it but don’t feel willing or able to contribute money to the cause. If we funded wars on willing contributions only they would also be under funded, even wars that most people support politically or with inexpensive yellow stickers on their SUVs as status symbols.

  • Anonymous

    “I am evidence based.”

    “If the evidence turns the other way, I’ll turn with it.”

    Since you pick and choose your sources of “evidence” in an outcome-based manner, the likelihood of ANY evidence “turning” against ANY of your liberal dogma is nil. Your disingenuousness is breathtaking – as always.

    • dean

      Everyone picks and chooses. I pick from the best available actual science and avoid unpublished, non-peer reviewed crap thrown against the wall by ideologues.

      Now catch your breath before you come back with more hot air.

  • jim karlock

    *Dean* I am evidence based. The overwhelming evidence remains that global warming is real and serious.
    *JK:* Excellent! That means that you know where to find the first, fundamental, most important piece of evidence:
    Proof that CO2 can actually cause dangerous global warming. Please show where that proof is. (Of course, as Al Gore reminds us, only peer reviewed papers will do and IPCC is NOT peer reviewed.)


    • dean

      Did I say “dangerous?” No. I said “real” and “serious.”

      • Anonymous

        “Did I say “dangerous?” No. I said ‘real’ and ‘serious’.”

        Did you say anything?

        Do you ever?

        I take it from your defensive retort that either you DON’T think GW is dangerous, or you find some substantive distinction between “…real and serious…” and “dangerous”.

        Parse on, Don Quixote.

        There are windmills in Wasco County, I hear – saddle up!

      • jim karlock

        *Dean:* No. I said “real” and “serious.”
        *JK:* Excellent! That means that you know where to find the first, fundamental, most important piece of evidence:
        Proof that CO2 causes warming that is actually “real” and is actually “serious.”.

        Please show where that proof is. (Of course, as Al Gore reminds us, only peer reviewed papers will do and IPCC is NOT peer reviewed.)


  • Rupert in Springfield

    Looks like Dean did another prat fall.

    How the hell could anyone miss that NASA got caught, yet again, fudging the numbers. This time they simply re-used Russian numbers for September, applying them to October, in their recent proclamation of October as the warmest yet.

    Oh, and how about the most recent hurricane season being one of the mildest on record? Hmm, well, guess that didn’t work out with the predictions on extreme weather so well.

    And as Jim points out, the best part is still, none of them can produce a peer reviewed paper that shows CO2 can actually cause dangerous global warming.

    I cant decide, does all of this AGW stuff start sounding more like Tarot cards, in that predictions when not fulfilled become ever changing and vague in their nature? Or is it more like intelligent design, a system with a faith based nexus with all things that descend from it based on real lose science?

    It’s a nice giggle either way I suppose.

    • dean

      No Rupert…I did not fall over any prats. You cherry picked. You ignored the preponderance of long term evidence based on a handful of short term contradictions. You use the word “dangerous” so you can have something to scoff at. What is “dangerous?” How soon is “dangerous?” Where is “dangerous?”

      Anyway…the case is closing rapidly. I suppose that if Obama and Kulo implement alternative energy strategies as promised, and we make the shift in the nick of time and global warming slows, and the worst does not happen, you and Jim K as cranky dodderers 2 or 3 decades form now will be blogging: “See you whippersnappers? We (cough) told you (wheez) there was nothing to (spit) worry about!. Tarnation! All that wasted money. No need for big government! Humbug!” Even as you both cash your SSI checks and buy your plhegm prescriptions under Medicare.

      • jim karlock

        Of course your problem is that the cooling has already started. Before the proposed cure is implemented, so you will have no case for cause and effect.

        Of course you have no case for claiming that CO2 drives temperature because, historically, temperature drives CO2. But you ignore that because it would prevent you from telling others how to live.


  • Rupert in Springfield

    >No Rupert…I did not fall over any prats. You cherry picked.

    Sure you did. You were totally unaware of NASA making up the October numbers and were also unaware of the mild hurricane season. That is why you said the following predictions have come true.

    “rising temperatures across the globe, an increase in extreme weather events, ”

    Had you been aware of the events I cited, that are directly directly to the contrary of AGW predications you cited, you would have hardly made such a claim.

    Also NASA’s clearly has a propensity for making up numbers, as I said in my original post. Thus picking any one of such events can hardly be said to be cherry picking.

    Damn dude, slammed to the ground again.

    If I were you I would start the “Dean Weasel Out” right about now.


    Become confused about what the term cherry picking means. I seriously think this is your best bet. Its weasely and transparent as hell, but it just might work.

    Don’t admit complete ignorance over NASA making up numbers ( well, lets face it, this one is a given, you can never admit when you are wrong, that’s why I love picking on ya ) but insist on irrelevance because NASA is US based they are to be treated as suspect, at least until the second coming in January. NASA? BUSH? NASA? BUSH? why do those two both have four letters. The same number of letters as in HELL? Could there be a connection? You might be able to work that in there.

    Start citing the IPCC report and hope that most readers will consider it a peer reviewed scientific document. Its really old, but frankly I think it might still work with some.

    Fall back on the Europe does it and they are the best strategy, somehow it must be applicable here. Id start citing statistics in Sweden.

    Give up on the whole thing and drown you sorrows over the fact that the day Obama starts talking about postponing tax increases and ending the Bush tax cuts, the market has it biggest rally in just about forever. I gotta admit, I feel for ya on that one…… harsh dude, harsh.

    But…… I am a fair man so……

    Ill tell you what, I will admit I have an easier task than you. Making fun of AGW is terribly easy and you are fighting a losing battle.

    Here is a hint, as the data stream gets longer the further we move from the inception of AGW beliefs and its predictions, the larger the data set that is contrary to such predictions will grow. Thus, considering your inability to argue even one iteration of your beliefs at this stage, as clearly demonstrated here, you might want to quit while you are ahead

    • dean

      Rupert, you are oblivious to reality on this issue. One season of hurricanes does not contradict decades of data.

      On your NASA gotcha…do your homework before you get happy feet. NASA reported September data for October weather based on erroneous information reported to them by others. The total error was for only 90 out of over 900 stations. NASA corrected the mistake 24 hours after posting it.

      Global temperatures are still rising, CO2 is still acumulating, sea ice thinning, glaciers receding and so forth. A single error on one month reporting on 90 stations changes none of this.

      I agree you have an easier task than I do. All you have to do is continue to remain ignorant and be witty about it. Getting at the truth takes actual work.

      Global warming is not about “beliefs” Rupert. That is your arena. Its about facts. I don’t know what “ahead” is. Banging a mule over the head with the 2×4 of reality does not get one ahead.

      • jim karlock

        *Dean:* Global temperatures are still rising, CO2 is still acumulating, sea ice thinning, glaciers receding and so forth. A single error on one month reporting on 90 stations changes none of this.

        I agree you have an easier task than I do. All you have to do is continue to remain ignorant and be witty about it. Getting at the truth takes actual work.
        *JK:* You still haven’t done the work to show that CO2 drives climate under today’s conditions.

        Please cough up a few peer-reviewed papers or quit scaring little children, politicians, progressives and other scientific illiterates.

        • dean

          Jim, the body of peer reviewed work that links CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to rising temperatures is long and well established. I have no idea how you can be in denial over that basic point.

          • jim karlock

            Simple – NO ONE HAS EVER coughed up the peer- reviewed paper that proves that point.

            However, there are a number of peer-reviewed papers that show just the opposite – CO2 responds to temperature instead of causing temperature changes.

            How can you be in denial of such a basic, well proven fact.

            Please produce YOUR evidence or quit spreading Al Gore’s lies.


      • Anonymous

        “Rupert, you are oblivious to reality on this issue. One season of hurricanes does not contradict decades of data.”

        Tell us, then, dean, in your infinite wisdom (based on peer-reviewed science, of course), how many seasons of hurricanes (or, rather, seasons of fewer hurricanes) does it take to contradict decades of faulty data?

        We’re on pins and needles waiting for your well-reasoned response.

        But we’re not holding our breath.

        • dean

          Let me get this straight. You are “sitting on pins and needles” but at the same time you are “not holding your breath.” Aren’t those contradictory metaphors?

          I don’t pretend to have infinite wisdom, so can’t share it with you. But we just had a national election where both major candidates accepted the reality that the earth is warming BECAUSE of accumulation of greenhouse gasses, and both candidates pledged to implement policies to restrict use of carbon based fuels and develop alternatives. The candidate with the stronger position was elected, along with a whole bunch of new senators and representatives who support him. Consequently the need to convince you, Jim K, Rupert, or anyone else about what reality is has diminished. You are free to hold on to your beliefs for however long you choose. In the immortal words of Rhett Butler, frankly I don’t give a d**m. Its over and we’re movin on.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Ahh, ok, Dean is up to his old sly tricks again, not understanding words. In this case the word is “science”.

          Science involves repeatable experiments with predictable results. Clearly, by any objective yardstick, AGW does not fall under that catagory.

          AGW adherents predicted increasing wild weather patterns. Well, we just had one of our mildest hurricane seasons ever. So prediction did not line up with reality even though Dean still believes, as he has said in this thread, that wild weather patterns are on the increase. Faith in opposition to observable reality. Thats religion, not science.

          The NASA making up numbers thing is hilarious as again it points out that AGW is faith based. Here NASA is excused for lying about the October numbers.

          Sorry Dean, if you are involved in science, rather than a belief system, that means checking your data, especially so when you have an anomalous result, such as we had here. The simple truth is NASA lied. It is simply not believable that when they had an anomalous result, October being the warmest on record, that they didn’t go back and check their data. That’s not rigorous science, that’s high school lab given the number of time they have been caught at this sort of thing.

          So, NASA got caught red handed. You got caught either being ignorant of this, or trying to fool people with your contention that we have wilder weather patterns, take your pick.

          I got ya, events in just the past six months that directly contradict your assertion. Oh, and dont forget about the ocean temps cooling rather than warming as predicted. This combined with NASA’s past making up of numbers in regard to 1998 being the warmest year on record means your belief system is starting to have about as much credibility as intelligent design or an Al Franken election.

          You know what the cherry on the whole cake for me is? The fact that either you didn’t know about the making up numbers for October thing, or, you were so gullible you wont question the motivations for such an obvious error. Either way you, Dean, are behaving exactly like a person of faith, not like a person of science. Ohhhhhh, I just love pointing that out and damn if you don’t make it real easy.

          Oh wait, you know what the real best thing is, it shows your partisanship in full regalia. You are a big “Bush Lied” drone. well, the mistake with the October numbers, the 1998 warmest year on record, all of that is way more indicative of flat out lying than anything Bush did whilst under full demonic possession of Cheney. OOoohhhh but yet, you remain a “Bush Lied” drone and an excuser of the AGW high priests as making a simple mistake.

          I love it, I just love it……..what a maroon….different standards according to whatever preordained conclusion fits with your beliefs. Damn that one just nails it.

          Ok….ok…. I’ll simmer down. I’m feeling sorry for ya. ……I’m picking on you when you are on the ropes here……I’m a fair man, Ill throw you a bone.

          Ill tell you how you can recoup some of this embarrassment though, Id suggest perhaps coming up with some real cool symbology for AGW adherents to distinguish them as believers. Maybe some sort of cool headgear…..hey, how about an arm band… a red sash?

          Second, Id come up with some sort of neat prayer, some theatrics, basically a redux of the tired old whiney vest wearing sensitive guys that seem to dominate the AGW deconship these days. In short, you guys need a council of Trent. The evidence is rapidly mounting against you the longer the data sets extends out. A rapid adoption of cool occultism, ceremony and possibly architecturally significant temples would be sure to maintain a core nexus of believers.

          Third, and this is where AGW believers are way ahead of the game, I would amplify the cloistering of methodology used by the high priests of AGW. You guys are off to a good start. NOAA et. al. is notoriously secretive about their methodology when classifying weather stations as rural or urban or what have you. This enables no checking of whatever compensating offsets are used and thus is very helpful in maintaining the pseudo scientific veneer your religion has. I would take this a step further. Frankly it is very reminiscent of when English translations of the bible were illegal. This makes it way easier to maintain the fiction of authenticity and adds a cabalistic air to the entire thing that has its own medieval charm. I would suggest though that this needs reinforcement, chinks in the armor are beginning to appear, the Russian data substitution is testament to that. However, there is one strong suit, you have no evidence that CO2 causes global warming. The fact that the basic crux of your religion is built on a foundation of sand remains unknown to the vast majority of your followers. Good show! However, I need not remind you that this simple fact, that the entire basis of the religion has no scientific basis, thus making it a faith based system, needs to be protected. Don’t let up your guard!

          • dean

            Rupert…I do envy your capacity for amusing yourself.

            Typhoon Nargis, which killed 100,000 Burmese last year aside, I like to imagine your conclusions on global warming as junk science will lead you to invest in beachfront property in Florida or Louisiana soon, and forgoe the hurricane insurance even if you can find a company willing to sell you a policy.

            Science my dear boy, is not simply “repeatable experiments with predictable results.” It’s the “quantification of observations into a theory or model and then using that to make predictions.” In order to get to the experiment stage one needs a theory first, and that theory should be based on observations, like….hey…its getting warmer out here. Or hey….there is an awful lot of CO2 in the atmosphere. I wonder what that might mean?

            Now think about this for a minute. Try real hard. We have one earth, so we can’t conduct planet sized experiments using a control. Climate scientists adapt by building General Circulation Models that factor in as much as they can as best as they can. Some stuff, like a single Atlantic hurricane season, is too small and falls through the large time and space grid planetary mesh these models represent. This allows for people like yourself to jump up and yell GOTCHA” when something does not happen, or some measurement is re-calibated, or wrong data is entered and later corrected. Its good sport I suppose, and would be entertaining but for the stakes.

            And the very fact you still question the actual temperature data as some sort of nefarious plot by NOAA scientists tells me all I need to know. Let’s say they made the whole thing up. They cheated on temperature measurements for decades now. How did they get the glaciers to melt? The sea ice to thin? The birds to migrate sooner? The oceans to rise and acidify? I mean…these guys must be really good. Maybe they built a super secret earth warming machine powered by composted conservatives? Wait….that explains the election results! These horrible climate scientists have been kidnapping conservatives, slaying them, and composting them to feed their nefarious warming machine! No wonder Obama won! Soylent Green!

            And I have to ask you this. In calling me a “maroon,” are you making some sort of racialist comment? You have something against maroon skinned people? Shame on you Rupert. And anyway Greeks are olive skinned, so you missed your mark.

          • jim karlock

            *dean:* Typhoon Nargis, which killed 100,000 Burmese last year aside
            *JK:* How is that relevant to anything? Or did you finally find those peer-reviewed papers taht linked CO2 to warming. And linked Warming to typhoons? Or are you just repeating Al Gore’s self serving lies? (See:

            *dean:* Science my dear boy, is not simply “repeatable experiments with predictable results.” It’s the “quantification of observations into a theory or model and then using that to make predictions.”
            *JK:* And what predictions have the climate play station boys successfully made?
            *1.* They missed the current cooling spell (since 1998 or so.)
            *2.* The atmosphere is not warming with they pattern that they predicted.
            *3.* On the 20th anniversuary of jim Hanson’s first alarmist testimony to congress, it was actually cooler than when he presented his predictions of warming.

            The failure of the predictions proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that the models used by the scare mongers are just plain wrong.

            *dean:* And the very fact you still question the actual temperature data as some sort of nefarious plot by NOAA scientists tells me all I need to know.
            *JK:* Are really naive enough to believe that one can get accurate temperature readings from an official weather station in the middle of a parking lot? See

            The fact is that our land temperature measuring network is a mess. Satellite data is considered better and isn’t showing much warming. You do recognize that warming is normal after the “little ice age” don’t you?

            *dean:* How did they get the glaciers to melt?
            *JK:* Where do you get this crap – the glaciers have been melting since before man’s CO2. They have SLOWED lately. Al Gore’s poster-child Kilimanjaro, is not going away from warming – it is being starved of moisture.

            *dean:* The sea ice to thin?
            *JK:* Where do you get this crap – Arctic ice is cyclic. See New York Times, Dec 7, 1905, May 5, 1946 for stories about ships making the Northwest Passage. Both before the CO2 buildup.

            *dean:* The birds to migrate sooner?
            *JK:* Where do you get this crap?

            *dean:* The oceans to rise and acidify?
            *JK:* Where do you get this crap – oceans have been rising since the end of the last big ice age. They have slowed recently and may hav actually stopped. Please quit getting you science from the Sierra club weekly reader and lying politicians like Al Gore.

            *dean:* And I have to ask you this. In calling me a “maroon,” are you making some sort of racialist comment?
            *JK:* Considering the things that you believe you should consider that a compliment, however it is spelled.


          • dean

            Jim…I believe what the world’s climate scientists also believe, what both leading presidential candidates believe, what most of Congress believes, what most governments around the world believe, and what most informed people believe. You could be right and we could all be wrong. I hope this is the case.

            As for my spelling r-a-c-i-a-l-i-s-t, I used Rupert’s spelling. I’m not sure it is really a word. Take it up with him.

          • jim karlock

            *dean:* Jim…I believe what the world’s climate scientists also believe,
            *JK:* Not true. Few scientists believe urgent action is required. Only a very few vocal ones like:
            *1. Jim Hansen* (warned congress of immanent warming twenty years ago – it is now cooler than then according the historical record that he keeps at NASA)

            *2. Michael Mann* Creator of the dramatic “hockey stick. Since proven to be a fraud.

            *3. Of course the most vocal of all is the scientifically illiterate Al Gore* who is raking in Millions. You are following fools and liars.

            *dean:* what both leading presidential candidates believe,
            *JK:* scientifically illiterate fools.

            *dean:* what most of Congress believes,
            *JK:* scientifically illiterate fools.

            *dean:* what most governments around the world believe,
            *JK:* scientifically illiterate fools.

            *dean:* and what most informed people believe.
            *JK:* NO, you are wrong again. Informed people realize that there is NO evidence that CO2 can cause much more warming from the current levels – *even you admit this by being unable to come up with the proof, playing semantics instead.* Please quit fooling yourself.

            *JK:* Here is a nice summary from a politician who is not a fool:

            Few challenges facing America and the world are less urgent than combating the non-problem of “global warming”. On all measures, there has been no increase in global mean surface temperatures since 1995; and, according to the University of Alabama at Huntsville, near-surface temperatures in 2008 will be lower than in 1980, 28 years ago, the first complete year of satellite observations. On all measures, global temperatures have been falling for seven full years since late 2001. The January-to-January fall in temperatures between 2007 and 2008 was the greatest since global temperature records were first compiled in 1880, 128 years ago. The rate of new Arctic sea-ice formation in mid-October 2008 was among the fastest since satellite records began almost 30 years ago. There has been no decline whatsoever in the total global extent of sea ice since satellite records began. New records for the extent of northern-hemisphere snow cover were observed by the satellites in the winter of 2001 and again in 2007. This year, many ski resorts are opening early as Arctic weather strikes. Many temperature stations in the northern hemisphere recorded record low temperatures in October/November 2008.

            These facts are inconsistent with the notion that “global warming” is occurring, still less that it is dangerous. The Sun continues to show very few sunspots. Many solar physicists now predict at least half a century of global cooling, which would be a far greater and more destructive problem than a little warming.
            (The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley)


          • dean

            Oh….the great and magnificent Visount Monckton of Brenchley. Wow Jim. That’s your source? And his expertise on this issue is…..?

            From NASA’s web site after 2007 data (also obviously scientifically illiterate fools):

            “The global mean temperature anomaly, 0.57°C (about 1°F) warmer than the 1951-1980 mean, continues the strong warming trend of the past thirty years that has been confidently attributed to the effect of increasing human-made greenhouse gases (GHGs) (Hansen et al. 2007). *The eight warmest years in the GISS record have all occurred since 1998*, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990.

            Let’s add that up. The 14 warmest years on the record, which goes back to 1880, occurred from 1990-2007.

            And by the way, here is your peer reviewed paper on “dangerous” global warming:

          • jim karlock

            *From David’s “Proof”* our current estimate for actual climate sensitivity, which is 3 1ÌŠC for doubledCO2, based mainly on paleoclimate data (17).”
            *JK:* Note the word estimate. That is not proof. Did you even bother to read that paper?

            Oh, please explain why Hansen choose to use ONLY one set of historical data, when there are many different historical records to use. Anything credible would look at ALL available records to look for consistencies. But that probably would destroy his alarmism.

            And where are the data and calculations leading tot his conclusion – non-excitant, like the proof of most of Hansen’s wild claims.

            Please do not consider Jim Hansen as a credible scientist, He has bee caught twice fudging the numbers and is a well known extreme alarmist thus he cannot be trusted. He is the fool that warned congress, twenty years ago about dangerous warming and twenty years later *the national historic climate record, that he keeps, shows it is cooler than when he testified.*

            He is a fool and you are willingly following him.

            It is simply amazing that you would consider the mere mention of an estimate as proof. Now I understand why you have such nutty beliefs – you accept pure garbage as proof.

            Got anything credible?


          • dean

            Yes, I consider Hansen credible. His work was peer reviewed and published and along with a large body of work is part of the scientific consensus on global warming. 14 years of the highest temperatures within a 17 year period is pretty strong evidence. You on the other hand, use Lord Moncton, an English major as your source. Case closed Jim.

          • jim karlock

            *Dean:* Yes, I consider Hansen credible. His work was peer reviewed and published and along with a large body of work is part of the scientific consensus on global warming.
            *1.* The temperature record he maintains, the NHCN, shows *that the warmest years were in the 1930’s.* But he didn’t mention that because he likes to use inferior quality records to scare people.

            *2. Hansen thinks it is OK to lie:*
            Jim Hansen:
            *Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time* , when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions. ( from, bold added)

            *3. Hanson’s friend says Hansen is lying:*
            Hansen I’ve known for many years. He’s a very good climate scientist, but *he’s decided to do the politics.* I feel that *he’s doing some cherry-picking of his own* [when it comes to the science]. At that point, he’s not really being a scientist. At that point, you’re being a lawyer. He’s being an effective advocate for his side, but in the process of doing that *he’s no longer a neutral party and he’s no longer giving both sides of the issues.* ( : )

            What more do you want?
            Hanson is lying to you and you like what he is saying so you fall for it hook, line and sinker.

            You are still believing fools liars and illiterates. That is why your world view is so unrealistic – you cannot tell fact from fantasy.

            Case closed Dean.


          • dean

            Jim…Hansen’s work includes the 1930s data. It was warmer in the US 2002-2006 than it was 1930-1934. 1934 was a very warm year in the US, about the same as 1998. But globally 1934 was not a record year. And even if it were, so what? The trend of warming since that time is absolutely clear unless you dismiss ALL the data or pretend every recording station is faulty. Tall order.


            Hansen said nothing about it being okay to lie. He said it was okay to emphasize the more extreme end of the models in order to shake the public and policy makers out of their stupor and act before it is too late to head off large problems.

            What more do I want? Nothing from you Jim. You are like a gerbel on spinwheel on this issue. The more the evidence the harder you run, but you stay in exactly the same place. Even if you could prove Hansen is a liar and Gore a phony, that would leave every major scientific body on the planet for you and Lord Monckton of Benchley to have to discredit. Good luck with your mission. I worry that someday I’ll find you on a street corner wearing a sign that says “The global warming is ending.” Don’t let it go that far Jim.

            Yes indeed….case closed. We just elected a president and Congress who are going to pass a cap and trade system and other policies that are at long last going to begin to wean us off of carbon based fuels. We will do this, the economy will not collapse, and you will complain about it the whole time.

          • jim karlock

            *JK:* You are such a time waster. Lets cut to the chase:

            *We are still waiting for you to provide proof that CO can cause dangerous warming.*

            Proof requires data and analysis leading to a logically certain conclusion. So far you have only tried to pawn off an unsubstantiated mention as proof.

            Without that proof all else that you say is meaningless drivel.


          • dean

            Jim…if the large body of the world’s climate scientists can’t convince you, then the task you assign is beyond my lesser abilities.

            Nor can I prove to you that the sun will come up tomorrow, next month, and 100 years from now. The evidence suggests that will be the case however. So enjoy the sunny days ahead of you.

          • jim karlock

            *Dean:* Jim…if the large body of the world’s climate scientists can’t convince you, then the task you assign is beyond my lesser abilities.
            *JK:* Plesae quit repeating AL Gore’s lies about how many scientists believe his babble. Most DO NOT. IF you think other wise, prove it.(Please note that Naoim Oaskes essay was not peer reviewed and she lied about the search criteria, so it does not prove anything.) Also remember proof requires *data not speculation or mere assertions* (Mere assertions seem to be the hallmarks of your side.)

            You are merely arguing from authority. That is the argument of an illiterate.

            Please show us the peer reviewed papers or quit scaring little children, politicians and progressives with your babble.


          • jim karlock

            *JK:* BTW, Dean please explain to us how CO2 can cause warming since *CO2 has been shown to follow temperature* in several careful studies.


          • dean

            Jim…its well established by the same scientists you usually dismiss that CO2 “followed” the temperature rise for 800 of the first 5000 years after the ice ages, based on antarctic ice core studies. CO2 release after 800 years or so, possibly from sea ice melting and release of CO2 from the ocean probably acceerated warming after that first 800 years, but no one knows. The cause is not established in science, though there are theories I don’t care to go into.

            As for “how CO2 can cause warming” if it did not initiate warming after the ice ages…the answer is well established in the measured greenhouse effect of increased atmospheric CO2.

          • jim karlock

            *Dean:* Jim…its well established by the same scientists you usually dismiss
            *JK:* Wrong again. It was established by good scientists and grudgingly admitted by the scaremongers that you follow and that I dismiss.

            *Dean:* that CO2 “followed” the temperature rise for 800 of the first 5000 years after the ice ages, based on antarctic ice core studies.
            *JK:* Yep – grudgingly admitted by the scaremongers.

            *Dean:* CO2 release after 800 years or so, possibly from sea ice melting and release of CO2 from the ocean probably acceerated warming after that first 800 years, but no one knows. The cause is not established in science, though there are theories I don’t care to go into.
            *JK:* You just said nothing but we have no idea: *possibly* – *probably* – *no one knows* — * cause is not established* – *there are theories*

            *Dean:* As for “how CO2 can cause warming” if it did not initiate warming after the ice ages…the answer is well established in the measured greenhouse effect of increased atmospheric CO2.]
            *JK:* If it is so well established, why are you unable to come up with the proof? *The fact is that it is NOT well established that CO2 can cause much further warming from the present.*

            *possibly* – *probably* – *no one knows* — * cause is not established* – *there are theories* That’s all you have. Yet you continue to believe Al Gore’s self serving tripe. Dean are you really that gullible? Why do you continue your delusions?


          • dean

            Jim…the accepted theory among scientists is that the onset and waning of glacial ages is a subtle change in planetary orbit (called “Milankovitch cycles”). As the orbit shifts it allows more or less sun across the northern hemisphere. As it shifts to a warm stage the oceans warm and release more CO2. Thus the time lag.

            Today we are releasing stored CO2 via burning fossil fuels. We are experiencing a time lag between atmospheric buildup of CO2 and temperature increase because the earth, particularly the oceans takes up some amount of the CO2. The link between CO2 and the greenhouse effect and the temperature of the earth is not in dispute. Exactly how much CO2 causes how much warming how fast is debated, but all the models show a rise in temperature, and the mid range rise is enough to be of concern.

            Am I gullible? Yes, but I have good company, to name just a few:

            NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
            National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
            National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
            State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
            Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
            American Geophysical Union (AGU)
            American Institute of Physics (AIP)
            National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
            American Meteorological Society (AMS)
            Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)
            Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Bazil)
            Royal Society of Canada
            Chinese Academy of Sciences
            Academié des Sciences (France)
            Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
            Indian National Science Academy
            Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
            Science Council of Japan
            Russian Academy of Sciences
            Royal Society (United Kingdom)
            Australian Academy of Sciences
            Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
            Caribbean Academy of Sciences
            Indonesian Academy of Sciences
            Royal Irish Academy
            Academy of Sciences Malaysia
            Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
            Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

            We have yet to bring you, Rupert, and Lord Moncton, the Viscount of Benchley over to our side. But we are patient. Zombies are in no hurry since we are already dead.

          • jim karlock

            Again you argue by citing authority.

            Lets see some FACTS instead.

            Again I ask you for proof that CO2 can actually cause dangerous warming. Otherwiuse please quit wasting ouor time.


  • Bob Clark

    The Renewables mandate is government over-regulation. The government regulates emissions from power plants, and is working to impose a cap on carbon dioxide emssions. The government also regulates utility rates with the primary mission of state public utility commissions (PUCs) to keep monopoly power from being exercised. With these two constraints, government really doesn’t need to tell private utilities also how they should meet supply needs.

    The renewables mandate also is risky because it is at odds with the other goal of PUCs which is reliable power supplies. Many of the renewables have low capacity factors, and are subject to the variability of wind and sunlight. They are also very expensive relative to existing power technologies, and have been such since the last energy crisis of the 1970s. They also require a whole new tranche of transmission corridors and network.

    Bottom line: our government leaders have a myopic view of the capabilities of renewables, and the American economy will suffer sharply because of these views. Here’s a hint of the government’s ill choices: ethanol is now more expensive than gasoline even after the 50 cent per gallon tax credit, and not to mention it also contains only 60 to 80% of the energy content of gasoline per gallon.

  • jim karlock

    Here is more on warming:

    *The price of dissent on global warming*
    If you were sitting next to me 10,000 years ago, we’d be under ice. So thank God for global warming for ending that ice age; we wouldn’t be here otherwise.,25197,24700827-7583,00.html

    Even though the computer models have never yielded a single result that matches observations, any criticism of the models is met with some sort of complex justification that is beyond the comprehension of the general public so it is readily accepted by the masses and those questioning the validity of the models are vilified by the promoters of the AGW agenda as skeptics and deniers who are in the pockets of big oil.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Maybe the first step of the AGW crowd should take to avoid being cast as a faith based system would be to illustrate in what ways the famed computer models are different from the Oracle at Delphi?

      It would seem that when predictions of the oracles/models are erroneous (as with the recent ocean temperatures fiasco), adherents explain it away as misinterpretation or insufficient tweaking by man, not fallibility of the models themselves.

      It’s a teleological construct of the first order and thus I would suggest believers either come up with better looking robes or less easily mocked explanations. Failing that, perhaps they could be enjoined to come up with something a little more original than the AGW computer models which are nothing more than a plot line from an old Twilight Zone episode ( The Old Man in the Cave ).

  • Rupert in Springfield

    AGW believers have to show several things in order to prove that there is a science, not a faith based, reason for going along with their ideology.

    1) They have to prove CO2 is a driving force, since there has never been a peer reviewed study to show that CO2 causes global warming this step is not met.

    2) They have to prove the temperature rise is substantially due to manmade production of CO2 as opposed to other greenhouse gasses occurring naturally, such as water vapor, the number one CO2 gas. This remains unproven as global warming occurs quite naturally throughout history and there is nothing in the data set that shows an anomaly for our particular period.

    3) They have to prove temperature expected rise and thus lend predictability and rigorousness of the underlying science. In no way have they done this as they are all over the map on even the expected rise, as well as its effects. Al Gore recently claimed the temp rise would cause sea levels to rise 20 feet. Everyone seems agreed that is way to high, but since assessments of the effects of a 1-5 degree temperature rise are all over the map, clearly they cannot predict outcomes. Thus we cannot say this is science based. The outcome, which is the expected temperature rise, as well as the effects, such as sea level rise, crop affects, must be clearly predicted. Not being able to do that but insisting on drastic action regardless makes this more a faith based system rather than hard science. If my freezer temperature varies by 1 degree over the course of a day, I need hardly replace it. I can predict little will happen to the food and I will be right. If it varies by 20 degrees, I do need to replace it and can predict what will happen to the food.

    4) They have to prove whatever actions they recommend will have effect. If they are urging carbon trading or whatever, they have to give an expected result that can be checked if the goals the recommend are met. If they are met partially rather than completely, there has to be a result that can be predicted as well.

    Absent all four of these AGW not a science. It is a faith. Science demands an experiment be both repeatable and predictable. AGW has failed on both counts. This does not mean it can not at some point move from the realm of theory to established science. It does mean that insisting it is established science at this stage, when many of its predictions have failed to materialize ( the recent mild hurricane season, oceans being cooler not warmer as AGW had predicted etc.) comes more from a perspective of faith than from a perspective of science. Its very similar to intelligent design in that regard. Nice theory but the reason one believes in it has less to do with predicted outcome of experiment coming true, and more from a desire on the part of the believer to wish it were so.

    • dean

      So submit your thesis to a science journal and maybe you will win the day Rupert.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Oh I don’t have to submit it to a science journal as I am already winning the day.

    Fewer and fewer people seem very interested in pursuing this hokum as more and more realize the predictions fail to materialize. Its a natural outgrowth of the data set getting longer as I warned you about several posts ago.

    I think we will look back on the last great gasp of AGW being the fatal error of initially going with “warming” and then having to shift to “climate change” a year or two ago. That was the fatal error of the movement in my mind.

    • dean

      So given that the science of global warming/climate change is now in such tatters, are you predicting that Obama and the Democratic congress will not pass and implement a cap and trade system?

      • dean

        For Jim K up above…one cites authority because those ARE the folks who generate and interpret the facts. That you spend your time 2nd guessing is the mystery here.

        • jim karlock

          Why are you refusing to produce peer-reviewer evidence that CO2 can cause dangerous warming?


  • John in Oregon

    The issues Todd raised here are fundamental to the future of energy, the economy, and the United States. The question, how best to meet future energy needs of our country, contrasts the free market approach with government managed markets.

    While its tempting, in the absence of SB 838, to consider the present power structure a market free, nothing is further from the truth. Regulation abounds in the form of FPA/FREC, REA, EPA, State PUC, a host of other alphabet regulators, and environmental activist law firms. Each with their finger in the pie and stirring the pot, often in conflicting ways.

    The demands in the form of the “mandates” of SB 838 to compel so called green power generation are far from the worst defects of the bill. Along with escalating quotas, the bill defines hydropower production in the non-renewable fossil category. Further the bill discounts existing green production artificially setting the renewable power portfolio to zero.

    Of course these regulations are considered to be for the good of the market or to correct some perceived defect in the free market. The presumption is the Government makes better decisions than the market. But is this true.

    In 1969 I held a photo cell in my hand. That cell was little more than a toy converting less than 1% of the solar energy to electricity. Less than 10 years later Jimmy Carter launched a crash program with billions of dollars which over the nest thirty years brought photo vocalic technology to exotic materials, mid 20s efficiency and $10 per watt manufacturing cost range.

    Oregon Governor Kulongoski just recently announced a new solar manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon operated by SolarWorld. The facility is based on $10 per watt technology and came to Oregon after $41 million in Government subsidies were provided.

    Six months ago NanoSolar began operating the first of several solar cell production tools. Dubbed the Gigawatt, this one tool will produce 1,000 Megawatts of solar product each year. Based on late generation technology production costs the product will market at $1 per watt.

    Would you invest in the SolarWorld plant with a production cost of $10 per watt? A plant facing the Compton of another producer with costs of only 10 cents on the dollar? Of course you or I wouldn’t do that. But Oregon Government did. Government spent your tax money with little hope of any return. All because the goals of Government have little to do with common sense or real market conditions.

    The goals of Government are getting and keeping power.

    One ought to ask what are the conditions under which SB 838 will play out. Recent research pints to several critical factors.

    The first key factor is the present condition of the power grid.

    An extensive study done by NesGen Energy found the “The U.S. Faces Serious Risks of Brownouts or Blackouts in 2009”. This study found that, in the face of growing demand, due to restrictive regulations, environmental lawsuits and other external road blocks virtually no new generating capacity has been added in the last decade.

    U.S. baseload generation capacity reserve margins “have declined precipitously to 17 percent in 2007, from 30-40 percent in the early 1990s,” A 12-15 percent capacity reserve margin is the minimum required to ensure reliability and stability of the nation’s electricity system. In other words during the last 15 years the US has been consuming its peek load reserve generating capacity to meet growing demand for electric power.

    Just three years ago in a major study by E-ON, Germanys largest power producer and the global world leader in the production of wind power, the company found that it’s large investment in wind generation was able to contribute just 5% of base load capacity.

    *O* Wind energy is only able to replace traditional power stations to a limited extent.
    *O* Wind power feed-in can only be forecast to a limited degree.
    *O* Wind power needs a [over built] grid infrastructure.
    *O* Guaranteed wind power capacity below ten percent – traditional power stations essential. [assuming ultra high voltage DC power grid lines]

    More recently the UK, which has the largest resource abundance of wind energy, has also evaluated wind viability. “This summer, the U.K., under pressure to meet an ambitious E.U. climate target[s] [became the] world leader in wind power production… Thus the U.K.’s wind operation provides the ideal case study — and one that provides the most complete conclusions.”

    “Ofgem, which regulates the U.K.’s electricity and gas markets, has already expressed its concern at the burgeoning tab being picked up by the British taxpayer which, they claim, is “grossly distorting the market” while hiding the real cost of wind power.”

    “In May 2008, a report from Cambridge Energy Research Associates warned that an over-reliance on offshore wind farms to meet European renewable energy targets would further create supply problems… But worse news was to come.”

    In June, the most in-depth independent assessment yet of Britain’s expanding wind turbine industry was published… Jim Oswald and his co-authors, came up with a series of damning conclusions. [N]ot only is wind power far more expensive and unreliable than previously thought, it cannot avoid using high levels of natural gas, which not only it will increase costs but in turn will mean far less of a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions than has been claimed.”

    “Oswald’s report highlights the key issue of load factor, the actual power generated compared to the theoretical maximum, and how critical it is to the viability of the wind power industry.”

    This is the environment into which SB 838 now takes the stage. With this one piece of legislation renewable energy proponents, and elected officials, are saying that the U.S. needs to only add renewable power facilities such as wind farms. “Wind has been the cornerstone of almost all environmentalist and social engineering proclamations for more than three decades and has accelerated to a crescendo the last few years in both the United States and the EU.”

    SB 838 by restricting conventional power generation and mandating unreliable “green” energy has placed the Pacific Northwest and Oregon on a collision course with brown outs and black outs.

    When those supply shortages occur, as they inevitably must, expect the blame will not fall on Government which caused the problem. Instead, just as was the case with California’s self inflicted power crisis, the greedy power companies will be villainized and the failure of free markets proclaimed.

  • John in Oregon

    Rupert, one more nail to add to your list of the nails in to coffin of AGW warming.

    The most recent issue of Science News publicly acknowledged that physicists are contemplating the possibility of a connection between solar activity and fundamental physical process of nuclear decay half life. That Physicists, while skeptical, would investigate the possible connection and influence of a basic physical process is testament to the principals of the Scientific Process properly applied.

    In contrast the propionates of AGW diminish, minimize, and deny any possible Solar influence on climate.

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