The Follow-Up Question

I just love sentences like this one from Bloomberg:

The first part of Inslee’s plan focuses on U.S. emissions, pledging to convert the country to 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2030, and to mandate that all new buildings, cars and buses emit zero carbon.

Okay, let’s assume that starting in 2020 all cars emit zero carbon. When will the U. S. fleet emit zero carbon?

The answer is all other things being equal 2040 at the earliest. It takes at least 20 years for the U. S. passenger vehicle fleet to turn over.

There really aren’t many ZEVs (zero emission vehicles) sold in the United States. The entire boondoggle sounds like a backdoor subsidy to Tesla to me. I also wonder what the environmental impact of such a massive shift to fuel cells would be—a lot of those ZEVs will inevitably be powered by fuel cells.

I’d also like to see the net effect on emissions that would result from the mandate on buildings. It goes unmentioned in the article but producing cement is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. Less than transportation or electricity but more than agriculture.

16 comments… add one
  • Jan Link

    The more I compare the scientific data deployed by the IPCC, a UN politically created panel, versus the evidence produced via NIPCC peer-reviewed studies, a non-governmental panel of climate scientists representing over 20 countries, I am Increasingly dubious about labeling the causes of climate change to be “settled.” For instance, temperature charts graphically showing CO2 increases “following” temperature increases, rather than visa versa, should heighten doubt, piquing inquisitiveness as to what really is behind our planet’s heating/cooling phases.

    That’s why I view the global warming theatrics, demanding countries to immediately and adversely alter countries economies, on what appear to be inaccurate climate models, is beyond foolish.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    I know how you feel about small nuclear, thought you might find the efforts of chemist Harrison Brown to deter nuclear power interesting:

  • Roy Lofquist Link

    Q. What did socialists use before candles?
    A. Electricity.

  • bob sykes Link

    The only carbon-neutral electricity sources are nuclear and hydro. Solar and wind are strongly carbon positive because of the need for “backup” generators. These are almost always natural gas fueled gas turbines. The turbines provide 65 to 95% of the electricity, and they are idling when wind and solar are generating.

  • Hydro has the defect of the methane produced in the retention ponds. Plus, as has been mentioned here before, hydroelectric is probably built out in the United States.

    The entire article underscores that Inslee and anyone else trying to formulate a major plan to reduce carbon emissions needs to enlist more engineers at the planning stage. Inslee is a lawyer and I see no evidence from his background that he’s taken a serious science class since high school.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Running errands, listening intermittently to NPR discussion on the problems with geo-solutions to climate change, and one of the pundits complained that such solutions are obviously going to be implemented to the advantage of white, wealthy communities. Turned it off. I cannot diagram that argument without concluding he doesn’t care about non-white, non-wealthy communities.

  • I cannot diagram that argument without concluding he doesn’t care about non-white, non-wealthy communities.

    The demographics of the state of Washington in 2018 are:

    White 80%
    Black 4%
    American Indian or Native Alaskan 2%
    Asian 9%

    Median household income is $71,000. (vice U. S. median house hold income of $60,000).

    I think that living for a few years in Chicago would open his eyes. After having lived nearly all his life in Washington, one of the whitest states in the Union, his instincts about the U. S. are practically all wrong.

  • steve Link

    The NIPCC is really mostly just Singer and Idso doing the writing. There is little to no original research. It is published and largely funded by the Heartland Institute. Almost nothing they do is peer reviewed, or is published in very low tier journals with questionable peer review.

    I dont see Inslee’s plans as realistic. Maybe aspirational, but not realistic.


  • jan Link

    True, The NIPCC is headed by Singer with major funding by the Heartland Institute. What it isn’t funded by are billions of dollars of government grants given to those producing data corresponding to the main theme propagated by global warmists.

    A recent report by current ”consensus scientists” cited a rapid rise of ocean levels in the near future. However, it was filled with mathematical errors called out by opposing scientists, and, to the credit of those backing the report, were admitted and corrected. This is progress that such corrections would not fall on deaf ears of those who are so invested in AGW theory.

  • steve Link

    “What it isn’t funded by are billions of dollars of government grants given to those producing data corresponding to the main theme propagated by global warmists.”

    A global conspiracy, all done with peer reviewed science. As opposed to Heartland being funded with money from the big oil companies and three mysterious families. Here’s a thought, try looking at the actual science. One of the good things about the IPCc reports, and climate science in general is that it has always looked critically at tits own results and correct them. The NIPCC, and Heartland which is basically the same thing, doesn’t do original science.


  • jan Link

    The behavior of those abiding by the GW IPCC narrative has existed on a “selective” peer review foundation. Did you ever look at the climate gate emails between Phil Jones & Michael Mann? Have you ever objectively read any studies dealing with solar cycles, accompanied by increasing evidence indicating we are entering into a Grand Solar Minimum, rather than global warming? Do you know the number of climate scientists involved in that often touted “97% consensus” number, which virtually shut out any other dissenting voices in the climate scientist community?

    Basically, I find Patrick Moore’s comment to be prescient in injecting the right to have other POVs that refute consensus thinking:

    ”Consensus is a political/social concept e.g. a majority rules in a democracy. But consensus is irrelevant in science. Galileo, Darwin, Mandel & Einstein did not enjoy a consensus, they fought against a consensus that was wrong. Group-think is the opposite of scientific enquiry.”

  • steve Link

    Yes to your list of questions above. Since I have read them, it is one reason I am comfortable with the IPCC assessments. Your “selective” in scare quotes is misleading and honestly kind of stupid. There are essentially no practicing scientists who are dissenting. There are people who read and critique published studies. These people are largely, and coincidentally I suppose, funded by the same people funded the fight against tobacco as a cancer cause.

    Patrick Moore’s quote betrays a complete misunderstanding of science. When Galileo made his discoveries he was not disputing a current scientific consensus. He was disputing a current belief based upon theology and the organized church. Same with Darwin. In Mandel’s case the accepted theory when he published, blended inheritance was not based upon any scientific experiments, but belief and it was recognized that it could not explain discontinuities in inheritance. The consensus was that we did not have a good theory for understanding inheritance. Einstein? Seriously?

    So consensus is and always has been incredibly import in science. Once you do actually science (remember that was not the case with Galileo) you need to submit it to peers for criticism and replication. Once that has been done we reach a consensus on whether or not that science is valid, or needs more work. To date, nearly everything on which there was a science based consensus, not based on religion or other influences, had held up pretty well. Even Newtonian physics which we now know is “wrong” is still used by most people since by consensus, we know it is useful in day to day life. So at this point the science is pretty well established and we will mostly keep looking for improvements. But even then it probably won’t be wrong.

    In short, Patrick Moore is either an idiot or someone with an agenda.


  • TastyBits Link

    Medieval science was based Aristotle, and it was the consensus that a geocentric model was correct. Galileo was using empirical evidence to prove the heliocentric model. The Medieval scientists whined to the Pope about heresy to get rid of the competition.

    The problem with validating the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism is that to obtain empirical evidence, you need to use humans in a controlled environment. Since using humans as test animals is ‘frowned upon’, you use existing data, or you use a human analogue.

    That is a nice essay by Asimov, but he is wrong. The scientific models are constantly changing. He is correct that most of the time the model is incomplete, but there are still major changes. Perhaps, he was not aware that the static model of the universe was replaced with the expanding one, or it is possible that he did not think the change was profound.

    He is right in the general sense that profound changes in scientific theory do not usually cause profound changes in everyday life. When Einstein’s theory were validated by empirical evidence, Newtonian science was upended, but bridges built using Newtonian mechanics did not crumble.

    It is quaint that Asimov thought that we were at the ‘end of science’, but each end is a new beginning. In time, Einstein’s physics will be superseded, and that physics will be superseded.

    It is amusing that he uses the flat earth to prove his point. The edge of the known universe is the limit that light can reach earth. What is beyond that edge is unknowable at this time. It will require new instruments that adhere to physics theories that do not exist.

    To us, falling into a black hole is as scary as falling off the edge of a flat earth, and as our understanding of black holes evolves, people of the future will look back at us in the same way we look at the Dark Ages.

    Had Asimov limited his statement to our solar system, he would be more correct, but there is still a lot to learn.

  • steve Link

    The Aristotle model competed with the Copernican model. If you read from that era you know that Gaiileo was accused of supporting the Copernican model which he did not originate, but did use his own observations to support. The reason most people supported Aristotle geocentrism was because religious leaders supported that belief. In other words the religious leaders had primacy in deterring what was correct, not the science. There was no scientific consensus supporting geocentrism. (Surely you are aware that Aristotle and his followers based their beliefs upon reason rather than actual measurements and science. Greek philosophers believing that since man is the pinnacle of creation, we must occupy the center of the universe.)

    I think you miss Asimov’s point. It is not that we are at the end of science, but rather that we are less and less wrong as we advance science. The earth is not a sphere, but that is a much better approximation than flat. Asimov says that he thinks we understands the basic rules, not that we understand everything. As he notes…

    “What actually happens is that once scientists get hold of a good concept they gradually refine and extend it with greater and greater subtlety as their instruments of measurement improve. Theories are not so much wrong as incomplete.”


  • TastyBits Link

    If I understand correctly, a static universe and an expanding universe are the same thing, but the expanding universe is more complete than the static version.

    What happens is that a theory becomes more complete until it is obsolete, and then, it is replaced by another theory. Scientific discovery is about determining what is wrong with the existing theory.

    As to Copernicus, he was commissioned by the Church to fix the calendar, and in order to do so, he used a heliocentric model because it worked better.

    Medieval scientists were not being muzzled by the Church. They believed the same thing as Aristotle, and they used the Ptolemaic model of a geocentric universe. The model was quite sophisticated, and epicycles were used when observations did not follow the model.

    People like Asimov are not interested in learning how thing actually work. Following his prescription, we would still believe the universe was static. Fortunately, there were people who were trying to learn how wrong they were. If we are lucky, the expanding universe will be wrong, and we will get another more amazing model.

  • Andy Link

    “The behavior of those abiding by the GW IPCC narrative has existed on a “selective” peer review foundation.”

    There is no single IPCC “narrative” – if you read the actual reports, they give a range of estimates and probabilities. While certainly not perfect or immune from criticism, the IPCC reports are overall pretty good and accurately reflect the state of the science.

    Unfortunately, the existing reports are now five years old and the next iteration, AR6, isn’t due to be completed until 2021 or 2022.

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