If you haven’t got enough Superfreakonomics blogging Brian D has collected links to, well, everything.
The response from the authors to the criticism has been underwhelming. Dubner ignores most of the criticism and blames Caldeira for the fact that they misrepresented him. Your must read story on this comes from Eric Pooley, who says that Dubner is an old friend, but none the less reports:

One of the injured parties is Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford University who is quoted (accurately) as saying that “we are being incredibly foolish emitting carbon dioxide.” Then Dubner and Levitt add this astonishing claim: “His research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.”

That’s provocative, but alas, it isn’t true. Caldeira, like the vast majority of climate scientists, believes cutting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions is our only real chance to avoid runaway climate change.

“Carbon dioxide is the right villain,” Caldeira wrote on his Web site in reply. He told Joe Romm, the respected climate blogger who broke the story, that he had objected to the “wrong villain” line but Dubner and Levitt didn’t correct it; instead, they added the “incredibly foolish” quote, a half step in the right direction. Caldeira gave the same account to me.

That’s pretty damning.

And then we have this post from Nathan Myhrvold attempting to defend this statement he made:

“The problem with solar cells is that they’re black, because they are designed to absorb light from the sun. But only about 12 percent gets turned into electricity, and the rest is reradiated as heat — which contributes to global warming.”

Myhrvold starts by abusing his critics, calling them “shrill”, “bitterly partisan true believers”, “angry bloggers”, etc. He eventually gets around to:

He quotes somebody’s calculation arguing that over very long periods of time, solar cells save emissions. Well, of course they do. It’s so much easier to attack if you take things out of context. …


Over time, the CO2 savings from operating the solar plant (versus coal) would accumulate and be much larger that the warming caused by the “blackness.”

Myhrvold does not tell you how long this takes. Let’s do the calculation:

The atmosphere contains 775 Gt of carbon. Radiative forcing for doubling CO2 is 3.7 W/m^2. Area of the earth is 5.1×10^14 m^2. There are 3.2×10^7 seconds in a year. Coal is 80% carbon. So 1 tonne of coal heats the Earth by 0.803.75.1e14*3.2e7/775e9=6.2×10^10 J per year.

Now, 1 tonne of coal directly produces 2.4×10^10 J of heat, so it takes just 12/(6.2/2.4)=4.6 months before the greenhouse heating exceeds that from waste heat.

So if you are prepared to wait as long as 4.6 months, then your solar cells start reducing global warming.

Myhrvold also wants to include the cost of building solar plants.

Pacca and Horvath, in a 2002 study, found that the greenhouse gas emissions necessary to build a solar plant are about 2.75 times larger than the emissions from a coal plant of the same net power output (1.1 * 1010 kg of CO2 to build the solar plant versus 4 * 109 kg of CO2 per year for coal).

OK, so it takes three years before you are ahead. Still sounds good. So Myhrvold comes up with:

The next part of the point is that we need to build out lots of renewable energy if it is going to make a difference. If we finish one plant today, it takes it three years to break even. Three years may not be the exact number, but let’s use it for simplicity. Next year we finish two more plants, and the next year we finish four more plants. Regardless of whether the numbers are 1, 2, 4, or some other sequence, we need to build the increasing amounts if we’re going to get a lot of plants built. But notice this: the three-year break-even times start to overlap and pile up as we build more and more plants.

So? For any plant we build, we’re ahead after three years.

The net result is that we may not get much CO2 benefit from the solar plants until we are past the rapid-growth phase of building out new plants. If we go hell-bent for leather in building solar plants for the next 50 years or so, it is entirely possible that we won’t see much small benefit for 30 to 50 years.

Well, if we double the number of plants we build every three years we don’t get a net benefit until the end of the building phase. But that’s because we waited until the last three years to build half the plants. If we want the benefits sooner, we just have to build them sooner.

Myhrvold finishes with:

The point of the chapter in SuperFreakonomics is that geoengineering might be good insurance in case we don’t get global warming under control.

No, it isn’t. The point they are trying to make is that geoengineering is a more cost-effective solution than mitigation. Which is wrong. It might be cheaper, but you don’t get the same result.

Comments

  1. #1 dhogaza
    October 20, 2009

    It’s so much easier to attack if you take things out of context. …

    Oh, that made me laugh, whining about quote-mining after what they did to Caldeira?

  2. #2 Brian D
    October 20, 2009

    Thanks for the link, but in all fairness I’m not done yet. I’ve got a pile of links I accidentally left on my home machine that compile defenses of Superfreakonomics, and I do intend to feature them. (You’ve already got a sampling of what they’re like, by the way – the funniest is the American Spectator one I already have linked, but the more common ones are covered by Mike at Greenfyre’s.

    Dhogaza: For me, the ROFLmoment was when they were spending a whole post bemoaning being “smeared”, in which they link to complaints by a “well-known environmental advocacy group”, without identifying the group in their links. People who don’t follow links would think Greenpeace is frothing at the mouth, while those who do would discover they’re referring to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

  3. #3 Guy
    October 20, 2009

    “Myhrvold does not tell you how long this takes.”

    Actually, Myrvold does tell us this.

    “You need to operate the solar plant for at least 2.75 years before you break even versus the coal plant — at least versus CO2 emissions.”

  4. #4 Dave
    October 20, 2009

    > Actually, Myrvold does tell us this.

    No, he doesn’t.

    The 2.75 years quoted refers to CO2 emissions only.

    He then goes on to make a case about solar cells radiating heat. It is this part he doesn’t give any timescales for, and it is this that Tim calculated at about four and a half months.

  5. #5 Guy
    October 20, 2009

    I’m not defending him, but it does seem like you’re missing his point about having to create a carbon debt to create carbon-free infrastructure. That is more important than noting if solar panels are black or blue. Even if this is the case with the carbon-debt, that isn’t a strong enough argument to delay renewable energy production/use or to think of geoengineering as a silver bullet.

    I do think this whole chapter in their book should be rewritten. As it reads now, it can easily mislead people into believing many misconceptions about climate science. From the Amazon reviews it looks like the denialist crowd is pleased with it. It just reinforces their already warped views.

  6. #6 Mike Gourlie
    October 20, 2009

    Levitt and Dubner are on solid ground here. There is an insufferable myopia in the “climate change” (shudder) movement. Indeed they are correct to question the current dogma, and thankfully, we have folks like that around who are willing to slog through this foolishness. Romm has basically had an epileptic fit in public (respected blogger? Come on. Maybe to the echo chamber). If it’s between “Brian D” (rotflmao) or Levitt – I’m going to get my advice on data from Levitt.

    Remember – there are no climate change experts in the sense that there are expert dentists. You can spend 100% of your life on climate study and read everything that’s ever been written and you still cannot be an “expert.” Climate is a complex system and the models we use are simple toys. So anyone claiming to be one is a fool. In fact they are dangerous fools as people actually listen to them. So file your own post under stupidity.

  7. #7 Hank Roberts
    October 20, 2009

    Comment on whether the quote on their blog is correct?

    “The only significant error,” he wrote to Romm, “is the line: ‘carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.’ That is just wrong and I never would have said it. On the other hand, I f&@?ed up. They sent me the draft and I approved it without reading it carefully and I just missed it. … I think everyone operated in good faith, and this was just a mistake that got by my inadequate editing.”

    If that’s accurate, then Caldeira blames himself.
    If that’s accurate, the book authors will track down the mistake and correct it, in blog comments as well as in any future printings of the book.
    If that’s accurate, the people quoting from the book will correct the misstatement.

  8. #8 Brian D
    October 20, 2009

    Hi Mike.

    You’ll note my own commentary on that page is kept to a minimum. All I am doing is providing links to other critiques.

    If you equate my effort to Levitt’s while ignoring the content of the critiques I link to, it’s no wonder you think Levitt is correct – he engages in exactly the same math, by comparing human emissions to total emissions but ignoring total carbon sinks.

    Let me use arbitrary numbers here to illustrate my point. If, every day, you earn 101 dollars and spend 100 dollars, an extra cost of just 2% (say, an extra $2 per day) is more than enough to cause your savings to deplete. Levitt would express this by saying that the $2 is very small compared to your total expenses and can’t have any impact.

    By focusing on Romm (who was just the loudest to accuse them) and me (a self-admitted nobody on this, just running a list of links on a blog), you ignore the more substantive critiques, such as those by the Union of Concerned Scientists (which they insist on avoiding actually naming…), RealClimate, Brad DeLong, Yoram Bauman, William Connolley, and our own Tim Lambert (two posts prior).

    But of course I’m not surprised, since Levitt and Dubner are doing exactly the same thing – they defend against the claim that they are “denialists”, even though not even the apoplectic Romm used the term (or anything similar). In fact, a look at the major players that people have discussed (the SuperFreaks, Romm, and Krugman) shows that chronologically, Levitt and Dubner were the first to use that term.

    Mike Kaulbars has it right: This defense is positively Nixonian. And it’s a smokescreen from dealing with the real criticisms.

  9. #9 Sans
    October 20, 2009

    “”Dubner ignores most of the criticism and blames Caldeira for the fact that they misrepresented him.””

    Sounds fair enough. Tell us what the alternative conclusion should be in a blog post where you post the following quote from Caldeira:

    “”“The only significant error,” he wrote to Romm, “is the line: ‘carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.’ That is just wrong and I never would have said it. On the other hand, I f&@?ed up. They sent me the draft and I approved it without reading it carefully and I just missed it. … I think everyone operated in good faith, and this was just a mistake that got by my inadequate editing.””

    If you quote that, who do you get to blame if not him ? Cheney ? The Washington Redskins ?

    Seriously, either claim that THIS quote is a fabrication or acknowledge it’s existence. Because if your continued boooing relies on ignoring what this guy has said while supposedly coming to his defense, you’re simply dishonest.

    I’m yet to see anyone other than the Freak authors mention the fact that he’s said that it’s an accurate portrayal other than the “wrong victim” statement and that he believes any error was made in good faith. Are these not central to the entire fkn story ? Irrelevant assessments from an irrelevant man are they ?

    That leaves us with only one portrayal of the motives of people like you and what you are writing. Dishonesty in service of a biased viewpoint.

  10. #10 Sans
    October 20, 2009

    @Mike Gourlie
    “Levitt and Dubner are on solid ground here.”

    “Remember – there are no climate change experts in the sense that there are expert dentists. You can spend 100% of your life on climate study and read everything that’s ever been written and you still cannot be an “expert.””

    These would be conflicting assessments given that what they have published is drawn from a select few experts in the field.

    More to the point, you CAN be the best expert in the world on a particular topic and still have a POV that’s wrong, misguided or otherwise worthy of being shot down. The fact that you’re the King doesn’t and naturally shouldn’t count for anything when it comes to scientific matters.

    Instead — in criticism of a book quoting the ideas of like 4 people — we see a defense of one of them on the basis that his opinion may be misrepresented. As though a consensus of 3 is any different than a consensus of 4.

  11. #11 Michael
    October 20, 2009

    Myhrvold misses another important consideration in the ‘CO2 debt’ of building solar plants – that the debt is 100% only when the power source is 100% non-renewable. As the porportion of renewable energy increases, so to does the ‘CO2′ debt in building the plant decrease.

  12. #12 Ian
    October 20, 2009

    I have always wondered why people don’t think about this from the cheap vs. expensive energy point of view. We can’t sustain our energy use with the amount of petroleum in the world forever.

  13. #13 Anna Haynes
    October 20, 2009

    Hank (“If that’s accurate, then Caldeira blames himself.”), my understanding is that Caldeira took on that blame (via those words to Romm) before he knew that his objections to the “CO2 is not the right villain” atttribution had in fact been received, but disregarded, by Dubner and Levitt.

    Rather like all these SuperFreak climate science reviews – the Freak blog’s sidebar *still* says “SuperFreakonomics is out on October 20, and the rave reviews are pouring in. …”

    Their capacity for selective inattention is awe inspiring.

  14. #14 Marion Delgado
    October 20, 2009

    Nathan Myrhvold is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with capitalism, frankly.

    His only redeeming quality is that he is entirely cannibalistic.

  15. #15 Douglas Watts
    October 20, 2009

    If you ever want to see a fish again, the real problem with L&N’s Final Sulphate Solution is that it would permanently acidify the entire planet’s marine and freshwater ecosystems and kill all the fish in them. Even today, about 30 rivers and streams in Nova Scotia are too acidic from acid rain to support any native fish life, ie. Atlantic salmon and brook trout.

    An overview:

    http://www.novascotiasalmon.ns.ca/newsandissues/acidrain_background.htm

  16. #16 Matt Andrews
    October 20, 2009

    Myhrvold finishes with:

    The point of the chapter in SuperFreakonomics is that geoengineering might be good insurance in case we don’t get global warming under control.

    He must be reading some invitation-only edition of SuperFreakonomics that has completely different text. The version I read tries to argue that sulphur aerosol injection is the smart, cheap fix for global warming.

    Which is dead wrong.

  17. #17 Steve Chamberlain
    October 20, 2009

    More on Levitt & Dubner at RealClimate.

    Gavin Schmidt’s concluding para neatly sums it up:
    “To conclude, the reasons why Levitt and Dubner like geo-engineering so much are based on a misreading of the science, a misrepresentation of proposed solutions, and truly bizarre interpretations of how environmental problems have been dealt with in the past. These are, in the end, much worse errors than their careless misquotes and over-eagerness to shock highlighted by the other critiques. Geo-engineering is neither cheap, nor a fix, and the reasons why it is very likely to be a bad idea are ethical and legal, much more than its still-uncertain scientific merits.

  18. #18 Jimmy Nightingale
    October 20, 2009

    Re #15. I agree with you and the folks at Real Climate about sulphur aerosol injection (and any other geo engineering type solution). They basically suggest that we take this scientific experiment that we are running with the planet, with a man-made variable with a range of possible outcomes (nearly all bad) and try to fix this by throwing more man-made variables into the mix, all of which are uncertain and may not only make the situation worse, but create additional problems of their own.

    It’s like a liar trying to cover up with more lies.

  19. #19 Jeff Harvey
    October 20, 2009

    Jimmy,

    You have said it perfectly. People who suggest adding sulphur aerosols to the atmosphere are never ecologists. Ecologists know that ecosystems function as complex adaptive systems (Levin, 1999) and these kinds of no-brainer solutions tend to expunge the effects of a second huge anthropogenic experiment to counter the effects of the first huge anthropogenic experiment on natural systems that function in profoundly non-linear ways. Its madness, really: the kind of madness that is somehow made to believe that humans are not constrained by natural laws, that we can forever tinker with our ecological life-support systems with no real consequences for the way in which they work.

    I should say, however, that humans have been experimenting – or should I say tampering – with nature for a long time now, through a range of processes, so it is not surprising to find people living in glass towers saying that we ought to keep tampering until we “get it right”. On the other hand, there are those in the denial camp who also have not a clue about the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning who appear to believe that humans can pave the planet pretty much all over without any real kind of blow-back. They think that humans have evolved beyond any real kinds of natural constraints and that our innate wisdom will enable us to forever increase carrying capacity. All I can say is that these people are living in cloud cuckoo land, to coin a British phrase.

  20. #20 Chris O'Neill
    October 20, 2009

    Mike Gourlie:

    Climate is a complex system and the models we use are simple toys.

    Strangely enough, the people who keep saying this seem to think we can assume any changes we make to a complex system will be benign.

  21. #21 James
    October 21, 2009

    Something that seems to have been missed about Dr. Myhrvold’s analysis of solar panels is that he’s comparing the albedo of the panels to desert sand with an albedo around 0.4 – 0.5 (his figures). Now anyone who’s ever spent much time in the American desert (I admit I don’t know much about the Sahara or Australia) will know that the vast majority of the land is in fact quite well vegetated, with plants ranging from the high elevation pinyon/juniper forests through sagebrush steppe to the cactus & Joshua trees of the lower Mojave. (And the small areas of sand dunes & playas are not good places to build anything.)

    In consequence, the actual albedo of areas where such plants might be built (assuming people don’t do the smart thing, and instead put the solar panels on roofs and over asphalt parking lots), is much lower than he assumes, leading to the familiar “garbage in, garbage out” result

  22. #22 Douglas Watts
    October 21, 2009

    The Final Sulphate Solution prescribed by L&N is like saying heroin addiction is okey dokey so long as you pop a few oxycontin instead of those dirty needles.

    Thank God these folks were still in diapers when we were discussing removing lead from gasoline in the 1970s.

  23. #23 Marion Delgado
    October 21, 2009

    I need to recover my sense of humor, and fast.

    I actually used to do comedy semi-quasi-professionally, even.

    sigh.

    That anatomy of a smear thing from the Freakos actually just appalled me beyond words.

    Calling Patch Adams?

  24. #24 Sortition
    October 21, 2009

    Tim,

    I don’t understand why you claim that the 4.6 months figure you arrive at is equal to the time until the solar panel breaks even (not including construction).

    It seems to me that the efficiency of the solar panel must also be taken account of. If, for example, the efficiency of solar panel is higher than the efficiency of coal burning then the break even time should be negative. If on the other hand the efficiency is very low, the break even time could be very long.

  25. #25 Hank Roberts
    October 21, 2009

    > before he knew that his objections to the “CO2 is not the
    > right villain” atttribution had in fact been received, but
    > disregarded, by Dubner and Levitt.

    This story is in so many scattered pieces I didn’t see that stated — is there a list of the email with the dates and timestamps? Pooley isn’t clear either:

    > “Carbon dioxide is the right villain,” Caldeira wrote on
    > his Web site in reply. He told Joe Romm, the respected
    > climate blogger who broke the story, that he had objected
    > to the “wrong villain” line but Dubner and Levitt didn’t
    > correct it

    But Pooley doesn’t say WHEN. Does someone?

    If the email was sent and the writers had it in time to correct the misstatement before the book went out, and didn’t, that ought to be clearly stated somewhere. I’m looking.

    If they’re posting errata as errors are found, that’s good faith. Are they doing that? Or are they promoting the misstatement?

  26. #26 Ian Gould
    October 21, 2009

    “Pacca and Horvath, in a 2002 study, found that the greenhouse gas emissions necessary to build a solar plant are about 2.75 times larger than the emissions from a coal plant of the same net power output (1.1 * 1010 kg of CO2 to build the solar plant versus 4 * 109 kg of CO2 per year for coal).”

    Am I misreading this or is Myrhvold failing to include the CO2 emissions from the construction of the coal plant?

    Not to mention the emissions involved in mining the coal and transporting it to the powerplant.

  27. #27 Ian Gould
    October 21, 2009

    Also, shouldn’t the initial calculation of the heat reradiated by solar cells be based on the net change in albedo relative to thepre-existing surface cover?

  28. #28 Sans
    October 21, 2009

    “”Well, if we double the number of plants we build every three years we don’t get a net benefit until the end of the building phase. But that’s because we waited until the last three years to build half the plants. If we want the benefits sooner, we just have to build them sooner.””

    But you’re not going to, so what he said stands and you appear to be just wasting space by pretending to disagree with him for the sake of appearances.

    Seriously, his “arctic ice is white” assumption is up for more debate than the fact that action on large scale replacement of coal with renewable energy won’t occur for decades to come.

    Take a look at the percentages in emissions countries are committing to over the next 2 decades — particularly the largest emitters — and then tell us why something involving pixies isn’t a more convincing rebuttal.

  29. #29 Marco
    October 21, 2009

    @Ian Gould,

    The paper by Pacca and Horvath can be found here:
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es0155884
    In all honesty, I’m a bit mystified as to how he gets the numbers he mentions.

  30. #30 frankis
    October 21, 2009

    God save Gaia from the mad monkeys. Gavin Schmidt’s refutation (links at #15 & #16) of this freakish nonsense is excellent.

    As Myhrvold scrambles to excuse the inexcusable he probably proves the famous saw about it being well-nigh impossible to persuade a man of his mistake when his income depends upon him making it. Myhrvold’s clearly a bright guy, he’s done well in business …. well now he’s in the geoengineering game, make no mistake.

    His three paragraphs starting
    “The problem with solar cells is that they’re black … ”
    are just silly and wrong.

    If we were to argue as simplistically as Myhrvold has with his freaky solar cells story then part of the answer to our predicament would certainly be simpler than he would have us believe: we should from this moment build no more coal burning power stations, ever. We’d implement cost-saving energy conservation measures now, update and retrofit and re-engineer our existing coal burners as and when sensible, and we’d opt for smarter energy technologies as the current stock of coal power stations depreciated over the next twenty to thirty years. New coal? – just say no.

    But as for Myhrvold’s specific argument in those three pars – firstly what’s our energy budget compared to Earth’s incident solar radiation (insolation)? Well it’s currently about .02% of it within order of magnitude. By Stefan-Boltzman what temperature difference does our global energy budget – both useful and wasted heat – make to Earth’s surface temperature? Radiation going with the fourth power of energy that’d be about 0.005% then of Earth’s surface temperature of roughly 288K, or less than a fiftieth of a degree Celsius. The Earth’s surface warming anomaly over the past 100 years has been roughly fifty times that figure so Myhrvold’s handwaving argument around the issue is irrelevant to real world considerations, anyway.

    Further, concentrating photovoltaic and solar thermal have far greater thermal efficiency than current flat plate photovoltaic and, of course, when we’re rolling out a lot of renewable power generation in the future it’ll increasingly be produced itself with already installed renewable power.

    What actually matters though today and in the future is not the waste heat from our abuse of fossil fuels, what matters is the enhancement of the greenhouse effect from their emissions and the long half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Finally, Myhrvold says

    “The politicization of science has a terrible impact on the unfettered discourse of ideas that is so important to making progress. This has been a big impediment to geoengineering. Serious climate scientists who are privately interested in geoengineering are loathe to discuss it publicly because they worry that somebody like Romm will attack and ridicule them if they do. Indeed, part of the reason I chose to work on geoengineering and chose to go public about it is to try to get the topic to be more widely discussed.
    The point of the chapter in SuperFreakonomics is that geoengineering might be good insurance in case we don’t get global warming under control.”

    Oh – rubbish. This book is a screw-up by a couple of absurdly overstroked egos and Myhrvold hasn’t helped any by encouraging them. What is this, freaky kindergarten? He’s a bright guy, he’s right that geoengineering is worth discussing (I think in the same way “just tuck your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye” is worth discussing ie not much, but reasonable people can differ) … but this is only self-justifying nonsense he’s contributed to talks so far, “polymath’s polymath” (as the cringeworthy NYT bio fluff would have it) or not.

  31. #31 frankis
    October 21, 2009

    “Radiation going with the fourth power of energy” is an ugly botch of “energy going with the 4th power of temperature”, sorry.

  32. #32 Brian Schmidt
    October 21, 2009

    My simple math tells me that if we’re starting out at about 1% of electricity for solar now, then doubling every three years to maintain the carbon deficit they’re talking about will take us to 2% in 2012, 16% in 2021, 64% in 2027, and maxing out at 100% shortly thereafter. Even accounting for growth in electricity demand, I don’t see how you can get the 30 to 50 years of carbon deficit that Freakonomics is claiming.

    Corrections to my assumptions are welcomed….

  33. #33 Majorajam
    October 21, 2009

    People on this thread and elsewhere need to keep in mind that the Freaks risibly misrepresented more than Caldeira’s work. The Freaks also misrepresented Marty Weitzman’s work, to have it support the exact opposite policy implications than it does, (see if you can guess what the effect of that misrepresentation was on the case for mitigation).

    Weitzman’s work exposes how central uncertainty is to cost-benefits analysis of mitigation proposals, and how clearly uncertainty argues in favor of more aggressive mitigation in the short term. The Freaks completely turned that on its head, asserting that Weitzman’s work showed that since cataclysm is such an unlikely outcome, there doesn’t appear to be much justification for mitigation!!!! A truly astounding distortion.

    So, whether or not the first one was an accident- and if you believe that, I know some folks in Nigeria that need help recovering their fortune- a second instance of the same is definitively a trend (not that it stops there).

    As regards the solar bit, that’s just a canard. The whole analysis is based on specific deployment of solar panels in high albedo areas, without remotely any data to support its relevance other than Myhrvold’s hand waving ‘most large solar plants would be in deserts or high albedo areas’. Actually, as others have pointed out, this bit of superfluousness isn’t relevant in the least.

    It turns out photovoltaics are highly unlikely to be more cost effective than solar thermal in deserts, and are highly unlikely in general to be more effective than solar thermal on a large scale basis. That’s not to say there may not be instances, but it’s extremely difficult to believe, especially given the underlying economics, the capacity of solar thermal to store power relatively efficiently, (certainly relative to pv), etc. that pv is likely to have any remotely substantial impact on planetary albedo under any circumstances.

    So what’s the point of all Nathan Myhrvold’s garbage except to make it sound like it supports the idea that mitigation is not particularly feasible, (after all, even installing solar doesn’t help!)? Keeping in mind that this is the same chapter where we get things like, ‘not installing coal fired power plants would be committing economic suicide’, it’s really not worth asking the question what the point is- it’s patently obvious they’re doing a hack job on mitigation. Fine. Then own up to it and stop dissembling about ‘rational approaches’ and other funny stories. Of course, then they’d have to admit that Romm’s comebacks are not a shrill response to a reasoned argument, but a reasoned response to a dishonest argument, and they seem to have quite a personal issue now with the messenger.

    Anyway, it’s important to keep the heat on. AHIP learned the hard way that hack jobs can blow up in your face. We need to help the Freak jobs learn that lesson as well.

  34. #34 Thom
    October 21, 2009

    Out of all this Freakonmics mess, Keith Kloor latches onto one tiny issue regarding Joe Romm, while all these other groups–Mother Jones, Paul Krugman, The New Republic, Andrew Sullivan, Real Climate, Brad Johnson, Union of Concerned Scientists, Tim Lambert, David Roberts, etc…–come out against Dubner and Levitt.

    Keith, you might wanna see a shrink about the “Romm Envy” you’re dealing with.

  35. #35 Majorajam
    October 21, 2009

    Brian, system capacity isn’t static and you have to incorporate the retirement of pv/renewable plants, so the numbers wouldn’t be that straight forward to calculate. I agree though that there numbers look suspect at best, though no surprise there.

  36. #36 Berbalang
    October 21, 2009

    Thinking about the construction rate of solar power plants, it would seem to me that an exponentially increasing construction rate is highly unrealistic. A constant, linear or possibly geometrically increasing contruction rate seems much more likely. It would seem that if we built the plants at a constant rate they would cover their energy cost in building in three years. If we built them at a linearly increasing rate they would cover their energy cost in six years. For a geometric rate it would depend on how fast it was increasing.

  37. #37 Steve L
    October 21, 2009

    I agree with Sortition @ 24. It seems wrong not to have any reference to information on solar in the calculation. The only information we have from the post is 12% efficiency, but the 12 Tim uses in 12/(6.2/2.4) is months.

  38. #38 Nosmo
    October 21, 2009

    For people interested in the science of climate change this is all very interesting, but for those who are not up on the subject it is far better to take [Ezra Klien’s approach](http://tinyurl.com/yfd5pev) :

    L&D argue that walking drunk is eight times more dangerous then driving drunk, and they make a lot of unproven assumptions to come to that conclusion. They are more interested in making a counter-intuitive sensational conclusion then in getting the facts right. The work on climate change is just as shoddy.

    That simple statement will do more to debunk the climate chapter for the layman then all of these arguments. It will also make the layman much more likely to view criticisms of the climate chapter favorably. What is needed is more debunking of the rest of the chapters and of the previous book.

    Showing a pattern of lack of sloppy statistics and lack of logic and fact checking is what is really needed to counter their claptrap.

  39. #39 kkloor
    October 21, 2009

    Thom,

    The only thing I envy Romm for is that he gets paid to blog from his kitchen table. (At least I have to assume so, since that’s what he does full time.)

    I’m also content being a journalist, not an advocate. But Romm fancies himself a journalist, is treated like one by my peers (See Pooley’s article), so I feel he should be held to the same standards.

    For what it’s worth, Romm didn’t need to ask Caldeira for a specific quote to “trash” Dubner and Levitt. That was overkill–typical of Romm. He could have simply let his criticism of the book stand on its own. So he goes ahead and treats journalism like a blood sport and ends up undermining his legitimate criticism. Will he never learn?

  40. #40 dhogaza
    October 21, 2009

    Of course, Keith Kloor would never trash people in his own blog:

    More proof that environmentalists can’t chew gum and talk about climate adaptation at the same time comes in this post from David Roberts at Grist.

    The cognitive dissonance from this crowd continues to amaze me.

  41. #41 dhogaza
    October 21, 2009

    Oh, and Keith, isn’t accuracy one of the goals of journalism?

    But the truth is that no matter happens at Copenhagen and in the U.S. Congress, some type of adaptation measures will be necessary.

    Arguing against geoengineering isn’t arguing against adaptation. No sensible person argues that adaptation won’t be necessary. Most of us sensible people who understand the issues do argue that geoengineering won’t cut it.

  42. #43 Paul Klemencic
    October 21, 2009

    You might consider modifying your analysis considering different assumptions.

    First, the main point is that the thermal energy rejected by power plants is insignificant compared to the heating caused by the greenhouse effect, and this is the important conclusion you reached.

    But if we do look at net thermal energy added to the planetary system from power generation operations, my conclusion is that solar panels or CSP add less thermal energy to the planet accumulated heat balance from the first minute of operation, not 4.5 months.

    The earth is getting hit with somewhere around 174,000 terawatts of solar energy. Power plants on our planet use about 16 terawatts, with 80-90% coming from fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas, so this heat is added to the incoming energy from sunlight. Both the rejected heat and electricity generated will likely end up as heat. So the amount of thermal heat flow ADDED to the atmosphere from fossil fuel power plants is about 14.5 TW.

    If all the fossil fuel plants were replaced with solar panels, then the panels at 12% efficiency would intercept roughly 120 terawatts, and reflect and re-radiate roughly 88% of that energy, with rest going to the electricity consumer. But this energy is already included in the planetary balance, so the question is whether intercepting this energy and using it for solar generated power makes a difference, let alone add a net higher than the 14.5 TW added by fossil fuel plants.

    Myhrvold focused on the difference in albedo in his analysis, and decided to put PV solar panels in high albedo deserts. Leaving behind the question of the actual albedo of deserts, he conveniently ignored that the deserts will likely end up with CSP projects which use mirrors, with the PV panels going on roofs or over parking lots. In any case it doesn’t matter, except to indicate how Myhrvold has twisted the analysis to create a selling point for his technology.

    A better set of assumptions and analysis, is that the solar projects end up rejecting the thermal heat, but that the bulk of the heat rejected will be dissipated as OLR. It may cause some local thermal effects, but the largest part of the thermal energy rejected by a solar power plant, either PV panel or CSP, ends up escaping the planetary system, and not end up as accumulated global heat. The only significant place the thermal energy would be accumulated is in the oceans, and there isn’t a clear mechanism for get the heat radiated or convectively removed by the air in a solar field into the oceans. A better assumption, is that the OLR will work it way up and out.

    The electricity produced and consumed also ends up as heat and eventually much of it will escape as OLR as well.

    Planetary energy balances in recent published papers show an net gain of less than 0.5% when comparing incoming solar energy with OLR energy, so the net effect of both solar power technologies in terms of adding thermal energy to the planetary system should roughly the same; less than 1% of the intercepted solar energy. The net effect of solar panels or CSP projects intercepting 120 terawatts of sunight is likely less than 1 TW of thermal energy added and stored in planetary systems.

    But fossil fuel plants added “mined” thermal energy. In terms of net thermal energy added to the planetary system, fossil fuel plants are much worse, adding over 14.5 TW, not even considering mining and transportation of the fossil fuels. Compared to fossil fueled electric power generation, solar projects are adding less thermal energy to the planetary system from the minute they are switched on, quite contrary to Myhrvold’s conclusion.

    I think this is a more applicable set of assumptions and analysis. However, one could argue that most of the 14.5 TW added by fossil fuel power plants, will end escaping as OLR, and thus conclude rejected heat from any power source isn’t a significant factor. But in contrast to Myhrvold’s analysis, with these assumptions there is nothing significantly different about solar power when compared to fossil fuel power regards to thermal energy added to the planetary system (accumulated global warming).

    The difference between the two sources is the CO2 added to the atmosphere, and that is the important issue.

  43. #44 Brian Schmidt
    October 21, 2009

    #35 Majorajam: yeah, I thought about retirement/replacement. PV is supposed to last 30 years and can probably last longer, so that’s a minor addition to the carbon deficit (especially minor because most construction is backloaded), but one that I didn’t account for.

    To increase at this geometric rate is pretty ridiculous though for more than a decade, and for practical reasons will stop long before 100%. The math for a 30-50 year deficit just doesn’t work out.

  44. #45 Fran Barlow
    October 21, 2009

    Dhogaza

    Most of us sensible people who understand the issues do argue that geoengineering won’t cut it.

    And to the extent it does, it might “cut it” in ways we didn’t have in mind and wish it hadn’t.

    It seems self-evident that if one accepts — as I certainly do — that ecosystem services to humans are the result of very complex and dynamic relationships between the various elements in the system, then the idea that we could confidently mess with one element — say insolation — and confidently predict and quantify the precise results on a time line — is reckless at best.

    The deniers are forever disingenuously asserting how complex climate modelling is, and if they were consistent (ha!) they would never entertain geo-engineering as a solution.

  45. #46 Marion Delgado
    October 21, 2009

    Kloor is a journalist in his own mind, and that should be the extent of his circulation base, too.

  46. #47 Marion Delgado
    October 21, 2009

    dhogaza, that Audubon mag keeps a froth-at-the-mouth environment-hating shill like Kloor on is a continued mystery. And that he purports to give people the history of environmentalism is going to be in the Big Museum of Irony somewhere someday.

  47. #48 Marion Delgado
    October 21, 2009

    By the way, anyone who thinks I am being “not nice” to Kloor, please bear in mind he’s been an advocate for the leader of the most extreme denial and delay shills, namely Marc Morano, former stooge to the most fascistic and anti-intellectual senator in US history, now a paid mouthpiece of the denialism industry. He said Morano “bridges gaps” in the climate “debate.”

    That’s right, PR flack Morano, who reserves the right to lie about anything, anywhere, anytime, and who has slandered dozens of scientists and journalists, is a uniter, not a divider.

    I lost track of Kloor’s attacks, snipes, jibes, put-downs and dismissals of environmentalists. And columnists and bloggers like him do not have the same standards as reporters, anyway – he’s simply bullshitting. And the people he’s defended, like George Will, have no standards whatsoever, at that.

  48. #49 Marion Delgado
    October 21, 2009

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/category/george-will/

    Note that his hand-holding polite disagreement with Will still has to be spiked with his Wormtongue knife hacks at Romm.

    What an astonishing toad.

  49. #50 william t
    October 21, 2009

    Good point Paul Klemencic – nobody (at least nobody who knows what they’re talking about) ever claims that the heat emitted by human technology is significant in causing AGW. Good to put some numbers for perspective. A pity that Myhrvold didn’t do some back-of-the-envelope calculations himself before spouting off.

    Re not getting ahead if we double PV building every 3 years – the implicit assumption here is that all coal fired plants need to stay on line, and the energy from all the previous PV plants is needed to build the next (doubling) block of PV plants. Probably not a feasible option, so building would have to increase at less than doubling rate, with some of the PV output going to replace coal generation.

  50. #51 dhogaza
    October 21, 2009

    dhogaza, that Audubon mag keeps a froth-at-the-mouth environment-hating shill like Kloor on is a continued mystery.

    He’s no longer there, he claims to be freelancing full-time. Remember that Audubon Magazine isn’t an advocacy magazine, and that he was “an” editor (part-time, apparently) not “the editor”, which probably means he was hacking on submissions, not choosing story proposals accepted for publication.

  51. #52 Bernard J.
    October 21, 2009

    Paul Klemencic at #43 said what I have been thinking, but in a much, much clearer fashion than I could ever have attempted.

    Thanks, Paul.

  52. #53 Marion Delgado
    October 21, 2009

    William and Bernard:

    With the honorable exception that we wish the waste heat from many of the coal plants was being used. But that’s still a CO2-energy-equivalent carbon prevention perspective.

  53. #54 kkloor
    October 21, 2009

    Wow, the love some of you are sending my way is really touching.

    Okay, since I can barely recognize the Keith Kloor in some of these frothing comments, let me set the record straight: From 2001-2008, I was a senior editor at Audubon magazine.I edited everything from features to book reviews and also wrote a bunch for the magazine too.

    If any of you have a subscription to Science magazine, you can see the freelance stories I’ve written for them during the last ten years. Everything from conservation biology to southwestern archaeology. You can click on Mother Jones and search my name for stuff I’ve done for them in the last year. Ditto for High Country News, a highly reputable western magazine in the U.S that covers the environment. I’ve been particularly interested in energy issues related to the oil & gas industry, which is what my stories in those last two publications cover.

    Some years ago, I spent a whole summer writing a cover story on waste and environmental justice issues for City Limits magazine (now defunct).

    I happen to be especially interested in drought in the prehistoric West, which is what I studied as a fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism during the 2008-2009 academic year.

    I could go on…anyway, I’m sorry I can’t put Joe Romm on the same pedestal as some of you on this thread. My criticism of him seems to the basis for much of the antipathy expressed on this blog towards me. Fine. But it’s a mistake to draw conclusions about my core beliefs or career based on my critical blog posts of Romm.

  54. #55 Jeff Harvey
    October 21, 2009

    Keith,

    Nice that you replied here. I would just like to ask you one thing: are the comments posted here by Marion Delgado suggesting that you advocated for Marc Morano correct? The man is a hack in my opinion, a flack for anti-environmental causes. His piece on forest loss in the Amazon that was written ten years or so ago is an abomination, and I frequently use it as an example in talks I give at universities showing how some groups and individuals distort science either to downplay environmental problems or to promote political agendas.

    I believe that defending people like Morano is effectively defending the indefensible.

  55. #56 dhogaza
    October 21, 2009

    God, you’re full of pride. The reality, though, is that your current blog is full of anti-science crap.

    Oh, and when I was on the board of the second largest Audubon chapter for 15 years, I must say …

    National Audubon was a disgrace. We only got National Audubon on board on old-growth/northern spotted owl issues when we put our own lobbyist in Washington DC, and got the support of a great many other chapters, while National Audubon claimed that there was no reason to believe that northern spotted owl conservation was in any way dependent on preservation of their habitat.

    And we filed suit ourselves (with Seattle Audubon) – National wouldn’t join it, was too chicken-shit.

    (we also greatly regretted having joined National Audubon in the first place, since our chapter was founded in 1903 and only joined NAS in the 1970s. If I were still on the board, we may’ve left it – after all, FL Audubon and MA audubon never joined and are thriving and, especially in the case of MA Audubon, perhaps more visible than NAS ).

    Audubon Magazine was always a good feel-good love-the-photography, mostly ignore-the-words rag, but had and has nothing to do with what local chapters are interested in – serious conservation. Nor does NAS today. I can’t think of any national organization or its representative magazine more out of touch with its member chapters (which are much more independent, than say state Nature Conservancy chapters) than NAS. This is why, for instance, the national organization embarked on a plan to install state offices in all 50 states while undercutting local conservation-oriented chapters by siphoning off membership revenue.

    The chapter on whose board I served simply gave a membership option for us, not NAS, saying “all you’ll give up is that relatively worthless feel-good apolitical magazine, going locally where we’ll actually work on conservation issues”.

    And the fact that you’re an editor and freelance writer? This gives you *no* authority regarding science. Nada. None.

    You have a great ego, obviously. You’re also pig-ignorant of science. Your blog makes it especially clear. And your history with Audubon Magazine is no surprise.

  56. #57 dhogaza
    October 21, 2009

    Oh, and this crap:

    If any of you have a subscription to Science magazine, you can see the freelance stories I’ve written for them during the last ten years.

    It’s more or less like those monday morning quarterbacks who write in the sports pages, total authorities on football or basketball or whatever, so full of themselves that they think that if they weren’t such gifted writers, they’d be the next closer for the NY Yankees.

    Or for faux-science hacks like yourself, if you weren’t such a distinguished writer, why, you would’ve picked up a Nobel in your spare time.

  57. #58 dhogaza
    October 22, 2009

    I could go on…anyway, I’m sorry I can’t put Joe Romm on the same pedestal as some of you on this thread. My criticism of him seems to the basis for much of the antipathy expressed on this blog towards me. Fine. But it’s a mistake to draw conclusions about my core beliefs or career based on my critical blog posts of Romm.

    Oh, and to be clear, no, I don’t draw conclusions about your core beliefs or career based on your crap slung at Romm (who does throw crap, just as you do, as I pointed out above).

    It’s your clueless consideration of the likes of RPjr’s lying ass as a credible source that does it. It’s your obvious ignorance of science.

    Romm’s a back-aisle bomb-thrower (like Newt in his House days), but he’s also an MIT-trained physicist who at least understands the science.

    And your lame effort to undercut his criticisms of the superfreakonomics turds is reprehensible. The SF turds are simply lying about their sources, the science, and their faux surprise at being called on the carpet.

  58. #59 dhogaza
    October 22, 2009

    Jeff: go here.

    Gag yourself or spew in Keith’s face, you decide.

  59. #60 dhogaza
    October 22, 2009

    Okay, since I can barely recognize the Keith Kloor in some of these frothing comments

    Send me a PO Box number, and I’ll mail you a mirror …

  60. #61 kkloor
    October 22, 2009

    dhogaza-

    Yeesh, where to begin. First of all, my huge ego that you mention required that I stay far away from the internal politics of National Audubon Society when I was a (full-time) editor.

    I only mentioned those other publications I’ve written for and topics I’ve covered so people here would see that I’m not the gross caricature that you and a few others have painted. Sorry, my grasp of science is not good enough for you. But would you mind giving me a few examples where I come up short so I can work on that?

    Jeff,

    I believe the blog post I wrote on Morano (I’ve written several) that Marion Delgado is referring to is this one:

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2009/08/12/morano-helps-bridge-the-climate-divide/

    I don’t believe what I wrote is advocating for him personally, or the aims of Climate Depot. But I do make a provocative argument for the value of his site, that much I’ll grant. At least now you can be the judge for yourself, instead of reading about what I wrote second-hand from someone who calls me a “froth at the mouth, environment hating shill.”

  61. #62 Anna Haynes
    October 22, 2009

    O for threaded comments…

    Hank (“If the email was sent and the writers had it in time to correct the misstatement before the book went out, and didn’t, that ought to be clearly stated somewhere.”) – I got this from Joe Romm saying:
    “Ken disagreed with the [“CO2 is not the right villain”] sentence, communicated it to Nathan. Amazingly, Dubner did get it, but did not make the change.”
    …in Romm’s post [Anatomy of a Debunking](http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/19/anatomy-of-a-debunking-yes-caldeira-says-superfreakonomics-is-damaging-to-me-because-it-is-an-inaccurate-portrayal-of-me-and-filled-with-many-statements-that-are-misleading-statements-a/)

  62. #63 Thom
    October 22, 2009

    Keith, is it proper and up to your high journalistic standards that you’ve taken repeated shots at Romm over on your blog, and then take another shot at him over at Nature’s Climate Feedback Blog?

    Do you really think that your “full disclosure” that you posted at the bottom completely captured the consistent antipathy that you’ve shown Romm? So interested in reading your response….

    Oh, and why reference your time as an editor at Audubon? Everybody knows that magazine is applauded for its beautiful art. The writing is just decoration around the photos and illustrations.

  63. #64 Chris Dudley
    October 22, 2009

    I guess a fair comparison between the albedo effects of solar power and fossil fuels might include piles of black (not blue) coal sitting at mines and power plants, open coal cars in coal trains, and coal dust spread along the way, creosote darkened railroad ties and black iron rails, soot from smoke stacks that melts snow cover prematurely, change in forest and lake albedo as a result of acid rain and other effects. The use of asphalt rather than cement for road surfaces as a consequence of fossil fuel use would seem to be a larger effect than a 100% solar economy might have in terms of albedo. If solar panels are black, coal may well be blacker, and oil surely is.

    But, as pointed out by many here, this is not all that important in terms of global warming (though the soot is consequential).

    There is a very important logical inconsistency and huge a blunder related to energy payback time in Myhrvold’s argument. In 2008, solar cell production experienced 100% growth over 2007 but in thin film alone it was 123% growth. http://www.solarbuzz.com/Marketbuzz2009-intro.htm If he wants to sustain this growth pattern, he is going to have to adopt energy payback times for thin film rather than polysilicon since that is what will soon dominate. For the Nanosolar cells, the energy payback time is measured in weeks and the glass in panels made with their cells is a larger cost component that the cells themselves so really one is looking at the glass as the main energy input. http://www.nanosolar.com/sites/default/files/NanosolarCellWhitePaper.pdf The energy payback time for panels is probably less that two months. This is the inconsistency: current growth rates will favor rapid adoption of low energy input technology and this must be the basis for calculations using a high growth rate.

    In terms of the blunder, maintaining 100% annual growth for 50 years for a 2008 7 GW added capacity staring point so vastly over produced solar panels that we would need extra planets to put them on. It is pretty clear that Myhrvold has not thought really anything that he is saying through.

  64. #65 Marion Delgado
    October 22, 2009

    To be clear, it’s not the shots at Romm per se for me, either, although I think the phenomenon of him giving reasoned responses to shrill “arguments” and it being depicted as shrill responses to reasoned arguments is more common than faux gentility would have it.

    “Out of all this Freakonmics mess, Keith Kloor latches onto one tiny issue regarding Joe Romm, while all these other groups–Mother Jones, Paul Krugman, The New Republic, Andrew Sullivan, Real Climate, Brad Johnson, Union of Concerned Scientists, Tim Lambert, David Roberts, etc…–come out against Dubner and Levitt.”

    That pretty much says it for me, though I would change “come out against Dubner and Levitt” to “point out the recycled falsehoods and debunked conjectures of the Freakos’ sources, especially Myrhvold.

    I was a working journalist for many years. I do not acknowledge Kloor’s expertise or authority to condemn Romm, let alone try this attention-whore gambit of trying to make the first messenger the issue. That’s it.

    Oh, and Kloor, FYI, the person who cannot walk and chew gum on mitigation and adaptation, you lying hack and disgrace to your pretended profession, is not the average environmentalist, but YOU.

    As for your so-called standards, *spit*.

  65. #66 Marion Delgado
    October 22, 2009

    Enough Kloor for me, or Tim will probably bounce or disemvowel me.

    Hank, the reason we are sure that Levitt and Dubner did get back Dr. Caldeira’s objection to the “carbon is the wrong villain” falsehood is that the message he sent back communicating that to Myrhvold ended up being quoted in part in revision of *Superfreakonomics* – without the correction Caldeira asked for!

    So even though Romm is the source of that info, it’s very checkable.

  66. #67 luminous beauty
    October 22, 2009

    kkloor,

    I don’t know if you are a “froth at the mouth, environment hating shill” or not. What I do know is your narcissistic passively aggressive semantic twittery represents the very worst of modern journalism. Your writing is a witless exercise in style over substance. So much so that there is no substance to it at all. As such you are at the very least a co-dependent enabler of substantially disingenuous “froth at the mouth, environment hating shills” like Morano and Will.

  67. #68 Hank Roberts
    October 22, 2009

    http://www.grinzo.com/energy/index.php/2009/10/22/superfreak-aftershocks-continue/

    “… Superfreakonomics, the book that is quickly shaping up to be the biggest single example we’ve seen recently of bad research and writing practices, whether accidental or as part of a willful attempt to gin up a controversy and make more money.[1]

    The latest noteworthy aftershock is an interview with Ken Caldeira, the scientist [whose] views seem to have been the most abused by the Superfreak authors, Geoengineering the Planet: The Possibilities and the Pitfalls (emphasis added):….

    … In an interview with Yale Environment 360, conducted by author Jeff Goodell, who is working on a book about geoengineering, Caldeira spoke about how his work was misrepresented ….

    … I can’t imagine geoengineering changing the basic fact that we need to drop our global CO2 emissions as soon as possible.

    I haven’t quoted any of the actual Q and A with Caldeira because it’s long and deserves to be read in its entirety.

    [1] Just so there’s no misinterpretation by people who love to read between the lines: I am not, in any way, shape or form, implying that the authors did this on purpose to sell more copies of the book and raise their public profiles. This is not a “wink wink nudge nudge” thing; I have no idea how they got from the established facts to the words on the pages of Superfreakonomics. But being a long-time technical writer, I will say that this level of error and spin is either a gigantic smoking gun or it’s a sign that the authors were stupefyingly sloppy.”

  68. #69 kkloor
    October 22, 2009

    Tim,

    Quite a bunch you got here at Deltoid. What amazes me is not not so much the unhinged nastiness from some of the commenters, like Marion, but that none of the other commenters have questioned this kind of behavior. I mean, by now, those who cared enough to see what all the fuss was about must have read some of my posts and maybe glanced at a few of my stories.

    As for my new gig at Nature, Thom, you’re in luck: not only can you read my posts there every Tues & Friday, but you’ll be able to see climate change-related articles appearing there too, soon. I bet you can’t wait. Should I alert you when they appear in other publications as well? Oh, never mind. I’ll post a notice on my blog so you can keep up.

  69. #70 dhogaza
    October 22, 2009

    I mean, by now, those who cared enough to see what all the fuss was about must have read some of my posts and maybe glanced at a few of my stories.

    I have, and it’s apparent several others have, too. It’s the words you write that trigger the reaction. You deserve each post that slams you.

  70. #71 Bernard J.
    October 22, 2009

    Keith Kloor.

    Not knowing anything of you prior to this SF stink, I have to say that I am forced to concur with luminous at #67 and with dhogaza at #70.

    I did read a few of your efforts, quite prepared to disagree with the comments of previous posters here, on the completely unjustifable basis that you surname sounded as though it comes from my own country of birth, and I found that the only ‘meat’ in the pieces that I came across were the quotes of others. And even in those instances I felt compelled to check the primary sources to ascertain that I had correctly comprehended the actual context of the quotes.

    You made a lot of noise about your supposed journalistic integrity on your blog, but for me at least it didn’t translate into supportable reality. Perhaps you do have an audience that perceives such, but I have to wonder if there is a degree of mental gymnastics involved on the part of both parties to skirt the cognitive dissonance that such perceptions skate so close to.

    This is simply my own personal impression of course, but you might like to consider that your writing produces these impressions in folk who spend many more hours each day, than the ordinary punter does, reading detailed and technical scientific material.

    And for what it’s worth, I have had journalists of integrity ask me for clarification on a point so that they were certain to print what I meant, and not what they thought I might have meant, or what would have been a good ‘grab’.

    In your world it would have been “feeding me a quote”, but as both I and the journalist understood what was occurring it was not in any way a “feed”. I am convinced that the same is the case for Romm’s request for a quote from Ken Caldeira, and if you really believe that Caldeira was being fed then I would really like to see some more concrete evidence for this than you have presented.

    Oh, and how does quote feeding differ from [asking the same question in slightly different ways](http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2009/10/19/psst-heres-the-quote-id-like/), so that you can get something in “a language that [your] mother can understand”? I’ve watched journalists do exactly this, and on many occasions for the nefarious reasons that you claimed they do not have. You must be reporting from a different planet to the one on which I live.

    Anyway, nice try, Keith.

  71. #72 Steve Chamberlain
    October 23, 2009

    Keith Kloor (#69):
    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You accuse Tim Lambert of trash hournalism when (a) he simply expressed an opinion on your blog and (b) never claimed to be a journalist. You spray biosolids around the place claiming “the climate activist community” (whoever they may be) is “generally dismissive of technological fixes and any discussion of adaptation”, which claim is horse-shit. You then come over to Tim’s blog and, wearing the ill-fitting disguise of polite distress, complain “What amazes me is not not so much the unhinged nastiness from some of the commenters, like Marion, but that none of the other commenters have questioned this kind of behavior“. Hilarious.

    Even more hilariousererer, read any utterances of any of the following upright, balanced, play-the-ball-not-the-man Voices of the Good, the Fair and the True: Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtsen, Miranda Devine (especially her ‘unbiased’ piece on Feb 12th 2009 while the bushfires in Victoria (Oz) were still burning), James Delingpole, Rod Liddle.

    Compare and contrast these with this statement of principle: “Newspaper and magazine reporters don’t have a pre-determined story in mind while they’re interviewing sources. This is not how we operate”. Who wrote this? You did.

    Laugh? I nearly opened my wallet.

  72. #73 Steve Chamberlain
    October 23, 2009

    “hournalism”? Bwahaha! Heepers, I’m hust a jopeless incontemptent ;-)

  73. #74 Mark
    October 23, 2009

    > “generally dismissive of technological fixes and any discussion of adaptation”,

    Burning petrol and ejecting it in the billions of barrels is a technological fix that CAUSED this problem.

  74. #75 Thom
    October 23, 2009

    Keith Kloor, I asked you three pertinent questions about your “journalistic intergrity” in post #63. You dodged all three. You have spoken for the record.

  75. #76 kkloor
    October 23, 2009

    Thom,

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I disagree. I wasn’t taking a shot at him there. I was reporting the controversy, which took a new twist when one of the Freak authors suggested on his blog that Romm was the architect of a concerted “smear” attack against the book.

    Since I commented on one aspect of the fracas, I thought it appropriate to note that as a disclosure. Now If I were to write a profile or article on Romm, that would be a different story and you won’t be seeing that from me.

    BTW, for what’s its worth to any readers here, I actually think Romm is quite smart and well-intentioned. It’s his scorched earth style that I mostly criticize–and which I personally think is counterproductive to his aims. I realize that for many fans of Romm, this means-justify-the ends attitude is acceptable.

    Anyway, it’s been nice playing with you all in Tim’s little sandbox here. Be sure to check out my latest post up today at Nature’s Climate Feedback, and my latest short commentary on the Limbaugh-Revkin fracas aftermath,which I couldn’t help noticing was useful to Romm in a recent post. You’ll no doubt love it.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have to wipe Marion’s “spit” off my computer screen.

  76. #77 bi -- IJI
    October 23, 2009

    Shorter Keith Kloor:

    I’m going to cast aspersions on everyone “playing” here in a “sandbox” in “scorched-earth” fashion. Note that I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, and I’m merely reporting the facts.

  77. #78 Dano
    October 23, 2009

    I can’t read the ululating drivel of Kloor, as he is on killfile so I don’t get an eye owie, but this from Chamberlain:

    You spray biosolids around the place claiming “the climate activist community” (whoever they may be) is “generally dismissive of technological fixes and any discussion of adaptation”, which claim is horse-shit. You then come over to Tim’s blog and, wearing the ill-fitting disguise of polite distress, complain “What amazes me is not not so much the unhinged nastiness from some of the commenters, like Marion, but that none of the other commenters have questioned this kind of behavior”. Hilarious.

    Even more hilariousererer, [emphasis added]

    is good sh–. “Spray biosolids”. Wish I’da thunk of that. Keith Kloor as some sort of fat hippo, whipping his tail around to mark some kind of territory…

    Best,

    D

  78. #79 dhogaza
    October 23, 2009

    I’m going to cast aspersions on everyone “playing” here in a “sandbox” in “scorched-earth” fashion. Note that I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, and I’m merely reporting the facts.

    While attention-whoring for my new blog…

  79. #80 Nosmo
    October 23, 2009

    kkloor,

    “What amazes me is not not so much the unhinged nastiness from some of the commenters, like Marion, but that none of the other commenters have questioned this kind of behavior.”

    Well actually I considered taking Marion and others to task for the nastiness but just didn’t bother. I actually think it reflects very badly on Marion and others and is very counter productive. It will likely drive people away from considering the arguments and it paints those who are concerned about AWG in a bad light. If I hadn’t read other stuff by Marion Delgado and know him to be intelligent I would have dismissed his opinion because of the language.

    However I’ve read your stuff in the past and have the same feelings. I just don’t think it is a good idea to express it forcefully in public. Your writings are often execrable.

  80. #81 Paul
    October 23, 2009

    Keith, already enjoying your blogging over at Nature. Notice that they removed the defamatory comments that you posted about Romm, by claiming that he had “slandered” Dubner. The corrected version is now found here.

    By the way, Mr. Journalism Professor, isn’t “slander” when you say it, and “libel” when you write it? And why did they remove your clever “full disclosure”?

    Guess you’re back to the classroom where you can feel superior to a bunch of twenty-somethings.

  81. #82 Tim Lambert
    October 23, 2009

    The new version says:

    >Roger Pielke Jr., never one to shy away from a battle, believes that Dubner and his co-author Steven Levitt have indeed been critized by Joe Romm over at Climate Progress.

    Never mind that “criticized” has been misspelt, it’s now a pointless statement. Who disputes that Romm has criticized D&L?

  82. #83 Marion Delgado
    October 24, 2009

    Nosmo:

    More than fair enough, and exactly why I foreswore further commenting on HHMNBN.

  83. #84 Steve Bloom
    November 2, 2009

    Re #82: Tim, I’m reminded of this quote from the late Chicago Mayor Daley: “They have vilified me; they have crucified me; yes, they have even criticized me.”

  84. #85 Paul
    November 2, 2009

    Ummmm….Joe Romm has a full frontal takedown of Keith Kloor. Kinda’ ugly.

  85. #86 Hank Roberts
    June 15, 2011

    The link in the first line of the main post seems to be broken:
    “Brian D has collected links to, well, everything.” 404:
    http://leftasanexercise.simulating-reality.com/?p=90

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