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2020 Power Industry Predictions and Trends

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donn dears's picture
president Donn Dears LLC

Donn Dears began his career at General Electric testing large steam turbines and generators used by utilities to generate electricity; followed next, by manufacturing and marketing assignments at...

  • Member since 2010
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  • Jan 29, 2020

This item is part of the Special Issue - 2020-01 - Predictions & Trends, click here for more

The single most important issue facing the Power Industry in 2020, and a few years into the future, will be whether the climate change hysteria continues to warp investment decisions.

This diagram puts to rest the idea that CO2 is a threat to mankind. A similar diagram does the same for CH4.



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Graph by Dr. W. Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, and former science advisor to the president of the United States on the National Security Council.

The top curve is the theoretical heat loss from the Earth into the vacuum of space for the range of frequencies, assuming no atmosphere. This is Planck’s curve for heat loss from the Earth’s blackbody. (Notations above the curves are of various chemical compounds at their spectral frequencies.)

The sawtooth curve shows the actual heat loss through the Earth’s atmosphere for each frequency, where the percentages of CO2 are 0 ppm, (in green), 400 ppm (in black) and 800 ppm (in red). The sawtooth curve is known as the Schwarzschild curve. (The heat loss for all other compounds are for conditions as they exist today.)

Of particular importance are the circled, red and black, CO2 curves.

These two curves, highlighted by the circle, are virtually the same, indicating that heat loss is nearly unchanged after doubling CO2 from 400 to 800 ppm.

In other words, adding CO2 to the atmosphere so that atmospheric levels of CO2 doubles (from 400 ppm to 800 ppm) has virtually no effect on temperatures. CO2 is saturated, and adding more CO2 to the atmosphere has a minimal effect.

Note that heat loss from the Earth would have been greater if atmospheric CO2 was at 0 ppm, as shown by the green curve.

The fact that CO2 levels can double from today, without affecting temperatures is great news for mankind.

Hopefully this science will put an end to the politics requiring the utility industry to install costly power generation facilities, such as wind and solar, in lieu of using natural gas combined cycle power plants.

It could also put an end to rigged auctions resulting in the removal of nuclear power plants that can’t compete with subsidized wind and solar.

The science of global warming and climate change has increasingly shown that CO2 is not an existential threat to mankind, with climate sensitivity decreasing from an extreme of 8.5 degrees F, with RCP 8.5, to as low as 1 degree F, with the latest forecasts based on actual temperature rise and the latest graphs, such as shown above.

Disassociating investment decisions by the Power Industry from climate change fears will result in improved profitability, lower costs for customers, and greater reliability.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 29, 2020

Donn, I was unfamiliar with William Happer, but from his Wikipedia entry he appears to be one of the few accomplished physicists who disputes an anthropological origin to climate change.

It's anyone's choice whether to subscribe to a theory, of course. A fact, however, or "a thing that is known or proved to be true", by definition requires proof.

What's a proof? Here, we have a paradox. Proof is defined as "evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement." Because proof is defined using a term (fact) dependent on its own definition, our definition fails by circular reasoning ("She's smart because she's a teacher, and she's a teacher, of course, because she's smart.").

Leaving us with the only valid definition of fact: "a thing that is known." The implication of consensus here is undeniable -  "known," in this context, is synonymous with "generally known," or "commonly known." Because fact is thus indistinguishable from scientific consensus, those who dispute an anthropogenic source for climate change are deniers of fact itself.

Climate deniers, admittedly, have a tough row to hoe. It is possible that scientific consensus is temporarily mistaken, that truth and fact can change as evidence comes to light. So let's see what Happer has to say:

"Happer disagrees with the scientific consensus on climate change, stating that "Some small fraction of the 1 °C warming during the past two centuries must have been due to increasing CO2, which is indeed a greenhouse gas", but argues that "most of the warming has probably been due to natural causes."

Michael Oppenheimer said that Happer’s claims are "simply not true" and that the preponderance of evidence and majority of expert opinion points to a strong anthropogenic influence on rising global temperatures. Climate Science Watch published a point-by-point rebuttal to one of Happer’s articles. A petition that he coauthored to change the official position of the American Physical Society to a version that raised doubts about global warming was overwhelmingly rejected by the APS Council. Happer has no formal training as a climate scientist."

Because Happer has thus far failed to sway scientific consensus, both he and you are wrong - and that's not my opinion, that's a fact.

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donn dears on Feb 5, 2020

Instead of attacking Dr. Happer, why don't you explain why his analysis is wrong. The curve show that a doubling of CO2 won't seriously affect temperatures. That's good news isn't it?

Why do you hide behind consensus? We all know that the consensus is frequently wrong. Besides, science isn't based on consensus. It's based on facts.

RCP 8.5 has been discredited by many who support the CO2 hypothesis, and Dr. Cristy has shown that the computer models overstate warming and that Dr. Curry has said temperature rise is probably at the low end of the IPCC range.

Dr. Happer's curves support these observations.

Charlie Clissitt's picture
Charlie Clissitt on Jan 29, 2020

This sounds a little like poppycock, Donn!

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