Comments by Charles Barton Subscribe

On The Cost of Wind Energy, Part I

I K, Thank you for your editing points. My purpose in writing this post was to increase the accessibility to the general public of the discussion of the problems of wind. I have written more technical discussions in the past, but can no longer do so due to diminished eyesight capacity. My wife types from my dictation. 

May 18, 2013    View Comment    

On The Cost of Wind Energy, Part I

Neil, First, my data is based on the evolution of the cost of wind facilities over the last fifteen years. There has been an inflation of the cost of new wind facilities over that period of time. Your claimed cost for wind generated electricity does not correspond to the cost of generating base load or peak load electricity with wind. Wind lacks the reliability to produce base load electricity and wind cannot produce electricity on demand. Producing electricity on demand will be far more expensive than your estimate allows. The data over the last thirty-five years suggests that the construction of new wind facilities is largely dependent on government subsidies. Without government subsidies, few wind generators would be built.

May 18, 2013    View Comment    

On More on the Denatured Molten Salt Reactor from David LeBlanc

Nathan, I have never seen a p;ausible justifigaton for the argument that MSRs in gemeral cost more to build than LWRs if you can present such a case, i would regard it as very helpful. 

April 17, 2012    View Comment    

On Can Anthropogenic Global Warming Be Non-Catastrophic?

Bill, Pielke view does not conform to my impression of the debate outcome.  Of course i might be mistaken.  He might be correct. but his arguements did not seem to convince anyone.  

November 9, 2011    View Comment    

On Can Anthropogenic Global Warming Be Non-Catastrophic?

Ed, Judith Curry is known to carry on disagreements with the overwealming majority of other members of her profession on a number of issues.  The near concensus of her peers is that Curry is wrong on a number of issues.  Curry responds by attributing the majority view to "Tribalism."  That is not the only possible explanation of the disagreements.  Curry was recently accused by  William M. Connolley of "uncritical use of invalid data," in a recently published paper, thus her own professional skills perhaps should be assessed.  As for the disagreement between Dr. Curry and Dr. Muller, this may be a matter of interpretation, and since interpretations may involve different assumptions, it is not impossible that both Dr. Curry and Dr. Muller are both correct.  I will thus leave it to others who are better informed than I am to determine.  

November 9, 2011    View Comment    

On Global Warming Skepticism Crumbling

@J. Watts, You have misconstrewed my argument.  I never said that all AGW speptices comfuse the three arguments. but most assuredly do. My point is that if you acknowledge the reality of AGW, you cannnot then go on to use an argument intended to prove that GW isn't happening.  And if you acknowledg Anthropogenic Globa; warming, you cannot use an argument against it to prove that CAGW isn;t happening.  i would [pint to the Cornwall Alliance web site as an example of conflicting views being jumbled together.  

November 8, 2011    View Comment    

On Global Warming Skepticism Crumbling

Ed, you have quite oviously misrepresented my position.  First in this essay I overtly distinguish between AGW and GW.  I state, "The war over global warming is over, although the war over AGW is not over. Many of the more sophisticated AGW skeptics have acknowledged that global warming is real, but continue to argue that human CO2 emissions are not its cause."  Thus your claim that, "This piece suffers from a problem common to similar discussions of GW. It conflates GW, AGW, CAGW." is false.  i certainly have not conflated AGW, and GW.  Many critics of AGW infact deny that GWQ is taking place, or that the pace of GW is being misrepresented by climate scientists. This includs critics of Mann's Hocky Stick.  Muller's findings supported Mann's hockystick, by the way.

The incontrovertable evidence that global warming is taking place leaves critics of CAGW with a problem.  They have no strong scientifically valid case for any other cause of the global temperature increase.  The argument for the Medieval Warm phase analogy ignores the fact that two climate forcing mechanisms are pushing global climate toward golbal cooling.  The first is the Earth orbit phase, which is definately in a cooling mode.  The second is solar diming, which should be cooling the earth as well.  If global temperature is rising despit these two very powerful fooces toward golbal coolling, then there has to be a playsible explanation.  Physics offers one, the greenhouse gas explanation.  The right-wing critics of CAGW have no scientific, and scientist accepted explanation for the onseerved GW that ignores the role played by greenhouse gases.  Such an explanation would have to prove why GHGs are not forcing climate, plus a  verifyable explanation of why global temperature is rising in the face of climate mechanisms that would seem to be forcing climate in the opposite direction.  


October 29, 2011    View Comment    

On RMI Offers a Positive Energy Vision For the Future

John, You have hit the nail on the head.  Joe and Amory Lovins are Shills for the fossil fuel industry. 

October 23, 2011    View Comment    

On US Energy Poll Reveals Contradictions

Geoffrey, about 5 years ago, I dubbed the current period as the era of confusion, because of widespred and systematic confusion over energy issues.  Some of the confusion may be starting to lift, but the confusion of the public, politicians and even businesses that should be motivated to get the facts streight is far from over.  Take for example, solar energy.  Solar hot water heating is cost effective without subsidies in many parts of te United States, and people should in most instances invest in Solar water heaters before they even consider Solar PV.  The return from Solar PV is far grom impressive, especially without subsidies.  Nuclear power is far, far more cost effective than Solar PV. 

October 22, 2011    View Comment    

On Inspiring Vision of Hope for Thorium Powered Future

Rod is repeating an argument that he earlier expressedto me several times.  My response isthat Alvin Weinberg was concerned about public worries, and that this concern was shared by Enrico Fermi, Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller.  Three Mile Island demonstrated that Weinberg nuclear safety concerns were not misplaced, and the Fukushima accidents have reinforced the lesson.  The public worries about nuclear safety, may be irrational, but the public worries are real and remain a significant problem for the nuclear power industry.  Nuclear safety with Light Water Reactors involves small but real safety risks.  The public wants assured nuclear safety with no risks.  Weinberg believed that we could and should give the public what it wanted in nuclear safety, nuclear waste management, weapons proliferation avoidence, and lower reactor costs throulge the development of Molten Salt Reactor technology.  

I want to add that I have great respect for Rod eben though we occasionally disagree.  Rod is the dean of social media pro-nuclear communicators, and we have all learned a lot from him.  I must add that we both feel strongly about these issues, and for that reason we voice our disagreements.

October 18, 2011    View Comment    

On Steve Jobs and the Energy Storage Industry

Molten Salt energy storage systems represent the lowest cost and most efficient energy storage currently being researched.  unfortunately molten Salt storage is ill suited for use with wnd and photovoltaics energy systems.  Only concentrateds Solar power systems seem compatable with molten salt storage.   But CSP system siting problems limit such systems within the United States to the Southwest.  Taking advantage of the technical usefulness of molten salt storage would require a a post carbon energy generating system that is compatable with heating liquid salts to high temperature at a low cost.  I have in the past pointed out before that Molten Salt reactor cooling technology is very compatable with the molten salt energy storage and would represent a low cost source of storable energy.  

October 17, 2011    View Comment