97 Comments

This is an important piece. I am particularly grateful for pointing out the energy crisis in Massachusetts and the need for pipelines to abundant Appalachian nat gas. The Boston Globe and the state’s Woke leadership has a news blackout on this urgent situation except as it can be used to flog its favored narrative of the need for ever more commitment to renewables.

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And can I just mention that I have seen corn fields in Indiana and high ridges on Spain’s rolling Hills and They are ugly and a blight on the landscape. I imagine the noise is unbearable. When they start to fall apart it will only get worse

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Have you ever been in a field of wind turbines? I have, and there are no dead birds and no bothersome noise.

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Oh, well, that settles it then. If you've not seen dead birds around wind turbines then that must just be a figment of some fossil fuel junkie's fevered imagination, perhaps when they were high on sniffing the exhaust from their evil internal combustion engine. Guess that is why the American Bird Conservancy (gasp, oh no, some environmental whack job outfit) works to try and mitigate the impact of windmills on bird populations (not to mention windmills and other renewables encroach on wildlife habitat, but hey who gives a hoot (pun intended) about wildlife, we have a planet to save) while at the same time encouraging renewables.

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Windows kill more than ten times the birds that wind turbines do.

go here

BBC dot com /news/science-environment-48936941

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Then you can eliminate more, can't you?

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Nope. Altamont pass, 1986. Gave a tour to the CEO of Hawaii Electric of a major field of wind turbines (not windmills), including the operations center.

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Well reasoned as usual.

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The AGW thing is a scam which is a type of fraud. The people who claim the earth is getting hotter left out heat from the earth, heat removed by the evaporation of water which goes on 24'7. They also left out CO2 and oxygen from the oceans. They are necessary to support ocean life. Any leftover CO2 and O2 goes into our atmosphere.. The foregoing is based on scientific facts.

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The data say that the earth is warming. The authoritative NASA satellite data system run by the University of Alabama, Huntsville, says that the lower atmosphere (which is where the greenhouse effect occurs) is warming at a rate of 1.4 C per century. This varies from month to month and year to year (the ENSO has this effect, for example, and resulted in 2021 being cooler than 2020). See http://www.drroyspencer.com/ Some part of the warming is surely due to the CO2 added to the lower atmosphere by human activity.

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Dr Spencer's satellite data goes back to 1979, registering 0.14 deg C per decade. There is no satellite data to my knowledge before 1979. To imply that the warming rate was constant for nearly 60 years prior is disingenuous at best, and more importantly ignores the cyclical nature of global mean temperature data. From a practical standpoint, global food production has never been higher and leaf cover has expanded significantly over the past decade. I am patiently waiting for the negatives associated with a cyclical high to manifest themselves.

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There are two major problems with satellite data. one is that they cannot distinguish the difference between heat from the earth which is considerable and heat from human activities. The second is that the satellites cannot measure the heat of evaporation. If those quantities were taken into account there would be no global warming issue.

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There is no way the data can tell us how much heat is removed by the evaporation of water. The oceans cover 70 percent of the earths surface. Water does evaporate from the oceans and in the process heat is removed, and it cannot be measured. Water vapor, because of it's very low molecular weight, quickly ascends into the upper atmosphere where it condenses to form rain. With respect to CO2 and O2, they are both needed in the oceans to support the fish. Leftover CO2 and O2 end up in our atmosphere. The earth itself is a source of heat that we know from observation, and that heat should be subtracted from atmospheric heat before the human amount is computed.

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If you genuinely believe that, may I ask what you get out of Michael’s work? Nothing he has said accords with any of that.

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The facts I cited are technical and beyond dispute. The scam thing is my opinion. But I want to point out that Michael's work depends on the US maintaining a viable free enconomy. It is no secret, there is a push to destroy the US as free market system.. There is nothing that Michael can do about it, but what is your problem with getting the technical info out for every one to see?

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I don't have any problem with data and showing one's work—all the people who convinced you are free to do so. I was just curious because your position seems disconnected to this ongoing conversation.

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I did not rely on others for technical help. One of the things I noticed was that the AGW people depend on keeping the issues disconnected and often they rely on people not being aware of how they have change positions over the years. Also I read "Apocalypse Never" and Dr. Peter H. Gleick's comments. They took up a whole page but only covered nuclear power. Another example of how they keep the issues disconnected.

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This is more of a general observation, but as I read Substack, I realize how rampant censorship of just different/opposing views is - not only when it comes to covid, but literally seems to have permeated every single industry. What a crazy times we live in.

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Jan 5, 2022·edited Jan 5, 2022

Engineering for reliability is all about understanding of he variability of inputs. Of course.

The sun isn't going away and the wind will continue to blow. Is it variable? Yes within an understood range and therefore it can of course be designed into electric grids that provide sufficient power with high reliability.

You do that by understanding the variability of inputs, diversifying renewable sources, transmitting power from areas where given renewable resources are most effective.

But the number one way you make a variable electrical input predictable is short and medium term storage at grid scale. When you don't have a large percentage of variable versus baseload power sources then it isn't a big deal. But storage must of course scale with renewables. It's not complicated. It's not a science project. It's simply engineering that must continue hand in hand.

Ultimately we will end up with an even more reliable energy security picture than we have today because no one will be dependent on imported fossil fuels or even local fossil fuel supply variability.

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No - that is a fallacy.

The problem isn't engineering it is economic. We can engineer a system like you suggest, but we can't afford to run such a system. It all goes to capital assets dedicated to providing a service. Capital assets get cheaper the more they are used. But a system that injects 40% reliability in the generating capacity injects a LOT of unused capital assets.

Say I have a car that gets terrific mileage. But around 40% of the time the car doesn't start. My solution is then to buy a second car that gets great mileage, but also only starts 40% of the time. Naturally there are days when both cars won't start. So I buy a third car. after about 5 cars I now have a 95% probability of one of the cars working, which I deem acceptable.

How much money did I save on gasoline?

Answer: doesn't matter now does it? I just had to overbuild my transportation system 5X to account for a 60% probability of failure. I'm bankrupt.

Even if I have one unreliable car, and one reliable car, my costs are 2X. If your price of electricity is $0.15/kwh, that makes it $0.30/kwh, the highest in the industrial world.

Make sense?

That is the problem, it is all "doable" in the sense that there are ways to compensate for the innate unreliability of renewables, but not at a cost anyone can afford. I can also power my country with people on exercise bikes, if I had enough exercise bikes and people. So? As with wind and solar, powering a nation with exercise bikes is not an engineering problem, it is an economic one.

the first 20% or so of wind and solar is "free" in the sense it costs my next to nothing to add that. Why? Well because of demand variability I have already built a system that can respond to +/- 20% variability in demand. With a few tweaks I can handle a 20%+/- variability in supply as well. But past that point I have to construct significant capital assets to displace the wind and solar when they fail. That is what causes the rapid price escalation.

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"but we can't afford to run such a system."

Engineering of course considers economics. There's no point in engineering a system that cannot be run economically.

But you did not show that renewables plus grid scale storage is not economic. You just assumed it.

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Jan 13, 2022·edited Jan 13, 2022

What fallacy? I used none. But you made a bunch of arguments by failed analogies.

Having an extra car is not like grid scale storage to make output from solar and wind sufficiently consistent.

I missed where you show that grid scale storage isn't feasible in the same way that running the grid on exercise bikes is not feasible. It takes too many people doing too much work to get electricity. How is that in any way similar to energy storage?

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Are you an engineer? Real engineers can be held accountable for bad advise, however there is nothing in your posting that tells me you know anything about engineering. For that reason I will only deal with battery storage. Do you understand that if you charge any battery you will not get out what you put in. That is not the only problem with batteries but enough for now if you want to continue on the subject.

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When a person doesn’t state the obvious it doesn’t mean they don’t know the obvious. Factor it in and nothing wrong with his answer. Nothing wrong with his answer. Fossil fuels will be come unreliable when they’re depleted. They destroyed the coastline this year if you live in CA. Not worth it. Who wants tar polluting the neighborhood, animals, and decimating farms? Killing peoples economy and ways they make money isn’t good for affording energy prices. Not everyone believes the best solution are the selfish ones that cover their lifetime instead of life itself. Some change never happens unless it’s literally forced with no way out. Crisis is a painful but excellent catalyst at producing innovation and forcing change. Back pedaling and adding more gas in the mix while renewable strengthen and innovate so they can be added back in again down the road is a step in the journey of heading the right direction. The Journey was always going to have mistakes and not be smooth. Otherwise would be unrealistic. People pointing out “ooo they made a mistake” is as silly as the mistake itself. Someone is always smarter no matter who you are.

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Mary Mary; I don't need to know your background to tell me that you are capable of understanding what I have to say. To begin with I agree that we should protect our environment. We have done a lot and there is more to be done. That being said, your claim that renewables are preferable to natural gas is false. If by renewables you mean solar and wind energy, they will never do the job.

It is my position that the AGW thing is a scam. How do I know? Well it's based on a closed system with respect to CO2, human input being the only recognized source. We all know that most life on earth depends on a continuous supply of O2. The rate of use is large and it must be replaced continuously. The needed O2 can only come from CO2 and the CO2 must come from volcanic activity.

There is no way the claims of AGW can be squared with known physical facts.

That's why I claim AGW is a scam.

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Thanks for your comments. I know something about geology and there is no way we will ever run out of natural gas. The high carbon shale deposits are extensive. When they tap into the Marcellus shale they will only recover that which has been made mobile by heat and pressure. The wells will recover. In addition, below the Marcellus shale is the Utica shale which has has high carbon (called Kerogen).

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The only way you could claim we never will run out of natural gas is if you can show that it's created faster than we consume it, or you're assuming our demand declines asymptotically for some reason ( like, say, eventual scarcity).

As far as I know, in the relevant range of time the supply of natural gas is fixed and will eventually either run out or become uneconomical. Period.

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John, you make claims as though you are an expert in geology but you are not. You say "as far as I know" but you are clue less with regard to the supply of natural gas. Why should anyone take you seriously going forward?

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The high carbon shale deposits such as the Marcellus shale are deep ocean deposits the formation of which started about 1 Billion yrs ago. Perhaps only 3/4 of a billion I don't know but in any case it must have preceded ocean life because it provided the oxygen needed by all life. The oxygen was provided by one cell creatures that fed on the CO2 emitted by volcanic vents. The creatures are known as forminifers and they are still at work providing oxygen for ocean life. Up to about 1 yr ago you could go on line and learn about forminifers but it has all been removed. You will have to confirm what I say by other means. In any case a lot of carbon was produced, some places it could be 100 ft or more. of course it would remain at the bottom of the ocean if it were not for Plate Technonics which placed it within the reach of humans.

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I was hoping for a response to my previous posting because geology is my passion. Lack of knowledge doesn't prevent people from putting out false info. I did hope that the facts might be of interest.

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deletedJan 30, 2022·edited Jan 30, 2022
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Or get it out at the speed you might want. Or charge it as fast as you might like.

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Jan 13, 2022·edited Jan 13, 2022

That's just a matter of engineering to requirements.

You shouldn't assume either is difficult. But you imply both.

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Not sure what your point is. Engineers who design projects cannot rely on theories, they must stick with what is known. Clients some time ask for the impossible which is the case with solar panels and wind turbines.

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Yes and grid scale storage is known. Your desperate attempts to ignore that show your argument makes no sense.

What could be simpler than banking the energy to address variability of supply?

Yes there are losses when you store energy. How much loss is acceptable? How much loss is too much?

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Power companies have a long record of keeping losses low. They don't need advice from self declared experts such as you John.

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The power companies have been doing fine without battery storage. If solar farms require battery storage, why not store on site, then convert (technically Invert) to AC and connect to the grid. There has been some pretty crazy stuff coming from the green energy people. They are actually proposing boosting DC to

440,000 volts, sending it 3,000 miles across country to battery storage and then going to AC.

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The power companies have always operated without battery storage. If they need extra power they rely on gas turbines which can be brought on line in an instant. We don't need solar power. The US is the only country that has reduced CO 2 emissions by going to gas fired power plants and by reducing waste.

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What does that have to do with AGW. NYC had DC power about 100 yrs ago. There were battery operated cars and people loved them at that time and people love them now. The issue is just a diversion. The real issue is that the AGW people want to spend billions to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere when the science tells us that it will do nothing to impact global warming.

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Jan 13, 2022·edited Jan 13, 2022

You're out of the mainstream with your AGW opinions. They aren't germane here because one you're wrong (lies are never of interest) and two it's off topic.

For both reasons you are wasting everyone's time in a forum where no one cares about your denialist opinions.

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No James I will not engage your credential check. We will not be measuring our members. Either you have a careful argument that makes sense or you don't. And you have a weak one barely baked.

Yes there is some energy lost when you store it. Just as there is when you transmit it. So what?

And I didn't say "batteries" I said "storage." There are many types of storage. Pumped hydro. Compressed air. Molten salt. Flywheels. Flow batteries. Lithium batteries. Etc.

There are always losses in any system and different storage mechanisms have different characteristics. Just more variables to be accounted for in the engineered system. Still not a science project. Just terms in the equation of inputs - losses = output

Maybe that's your mistake, seeing power sources as Good or Bad, Reliable or Unreliable. It's a fiction. Any intermittent power source can be buffered to provide a reliable power source. Some loss is acceptable.

Your comment that there are "other problems" with batteries indicates that it is you who does not have an engineering mindset. As long as the system functions within acceptable parameters it is a solution. Finding some loss or waste heat in a system doesn't rule it out as an option. Show me a machine or other engineered system that doesn't have waste. You can't.

There are problems with any system. The only question is whether they are accounted for and addressed. For example a natural gas plant is highly reliable. But it only works as long as you have natural gas constantly supplying it. Oh no, a "problem"! What if there isn't enough? What if there is a political problem with supply? Hot war? Trade war?

All problems. CO2 dumping also is a serious problem. But it's just another global variable to address.

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John; I don't have to check your credentials, I can tell by your comments that you have no engineering experience. I have a project for you. start with solar farms in the South West with solar panels that are 18 percent efficient. Run thru all the losses in getting output to the end user and tell me hoe much is left for me to consume.

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Jan 6, 2022·edited Jan 6, 2022

I'm not doing your homework problem either. You're not a serious person as you do not engage on the merits of the argument.

I barely touched on transmission losses. We were discussing storage.

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In my power distribution region we have plenty of water power. Some comes from the St Lawrence Seaway project and some from Hydro-Quebec. Actually they have too much water. My power companies also have standby gas turbines which don't take long to rev up. Also, you cannot deal with transmission loses because it depends on distance traveled which is not constant. Since we don't need the additional storage you have in mind I don't see we have anything more to discuss.

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John, I checked your Jan 4th posting and see that your statements about engineering convinced me that you know nothing about engineering. Real engineers know that it is the system efficiency that counts. You did not know that, you want to divide things up and consider the efficiency of selected sections. When I asked you to compute the overall efficiency it was a test. A real engineer could probably do the math in his head.

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John; I made a mistake, when you start with solar panels, you should start with the, manufacturers rating which takes into account panel efficiency. Down stream there could be as many as 8 processes and if we assume 95 percent efficiency for each then the overall efficiency would be computed by multiplying .95 X .95 eight times. You do the math, but it doesn't look good.

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founding

New England Energy Crisis, I tried to speak at the 2021-12- Public comment on H.3288/S.2136 but was not selected, but patiently listened for hours to Anti-Nuclear - CAN, Sierra Club, UCS, & RE Developers. No one opposed to H.3288/S.2136, Spoke. Submitted written comment = " I am Strongly OPPOSED to 100% Clean Act, H.3288/S.2136, filed by Rep. Decker, Rep. Garballey, and Sen. Boncore. Reason, 100 percent clean electricity excludes NUCLEAR POWER.

The Bill states Investor-owned utilities must provide 100 percent clean electricity by 2035, with at least 80 percent from Class I resources like wind and solar through the renewable portfolio standard (RPS). " UD article, doubt our MASS Pols listen to ISONE? This is also the case in CA for CAISO. Advocates of Nuclear and Grid Reliability need to be more active.

ISO New England can meet winter power demand 'if the weather is mild,' grid operator warns

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/iso-new-england-can-meet-winter-power-demand-if-the-weather-is-mild-grid/611385/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202021-12-13%20Utility%20Dive%20Newsletter%20%5Bissue:38565%5D&utm_term=Utility%20Dive

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Germany has hardly bothered us since 1918... (Tom Lehrer)

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founding

New England Energy Crisis, Bloomberg, will never state the Truth, but Doomberg gets it Right. "New England is an Energy Crisis Waiting to Happen" https://doomberg.substack.com/p/new-england-is-an-energy-crisis-waiting

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In all of the previous comments I have been trying to prove the negative with respect to AGW while at the same time the AGW proponents have not presented any scientific evidence to support their position. If they had any, one would think they would reveal it for peer review.

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Unlike Mike, I earned a Master of Science in this field, and he is wrong.

The rest of you are simply ignorant of the complexities of the environment.

I want to debate the science here. Who can do it?

Start by discussing Ocean Acidification.

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From the BBC

Wind v fossil fuels

A study published in 2009 looking at the US and Europe estimated that wind farms were responsible for about 0.3 bird deaths for every 1GWh of electricity generated, compared with 5.2 deaths per 1GWh caused by fossil-fuelled power stations.

It said this would equate to the deaths, every year, in the US, of about 7,000 birds caused by wind turbines, 300,000 by nuclear plants and 14.5 million by power plants using fossil fuels.

It's a fairly old study so this may have increased with the growth of wind power in the US or decreased with better understanding of how to mitigate the risks.

Another study in 2012 came to a similar conclusion, finding that fossil-fuel powered plants killed birds during mining, through onsite collision, electrocution with plant equipment and poisoning.

Whatever the exact number, and how it compares with fatalities at fossil fuel plants, it's generally considered that any harm to birds could be mitigated by locating wind farms away from major migration routes and feeding, breeding and roosting spots.

The UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says that if this is done, wind farms will have "minimal impacts".

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I live in the North East power system. About 40 yrs ago we had an outage triggered by an overload demand from Canada. In response they built a new system to monitor demand and they are able to drop overload demand when necessary. Also they maintain natural gas turbines which don't take much time to start.. We don't need solar or wind power. we certainly don't need batteries. What will the reaction when people freeze their ass of because of the green energy crap?

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It is all staggeringly obvious. Worse it has all been predicted, for at least the last 10 years.

It. Won't. Work.

20-25% renewables based in wind or solar are not a problem IF the rest of the grid is nuclear, hydro, geothermal. It is also fine if the rest of the grid is gas IF you develop, maintain, and distribute adequate supplies. Otherwise no.

What they are trying to do is exceed what wind and solar can possibly allow. In Europe you either need to secure adequate supplies of gas or build nuclear. Hopefully both. There is no other alternative.

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Unless you add grid scale storage. Just stop ignoring the obvious.

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Last February during the extreme winter storm Uri coal, hydro and peakers fired on fuel oil kept my lights on in CO. Not renewables dude!! I'm all you are credential wise and have a PE.

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Unlike Shellenberger, I am a former senior engineer for a large power company.

Unlike Shellenberger, I earned a Master of Science in energy and the environment.

Unlike Shellenberger, I understand complex systems and stable states.

Unlike Shellenberger, I am honest, and not disingenuous.

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Was that the same large power company that caused the Dixie fire in 2019?

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Those fires were all over the world, and are due to climate change. Our distribution systems were designed and built for normal weather, not what we have world-wide now. Do you also blame PG&E for the fires in Southern California, or Colorado, or British Columbia or Siberia?

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You say that you are an engineer, then you went on to say that "fires all over the world are due to climate change". Science and engineering do not support that. In fact AGW is a scam. If you were in the US we could take you to court and probably get a conviction because the issues are easily understood by the average person.

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I am not an average person, I am a educated American, and I live here, so have at it, mister lawsuit.

How did British Columbia get to 121 degrees F?

Why was it over 100 degrees F above the Arctic Circle? If you were unaware of these, you are ignorant of the field. You do not know a Hadley Cell from a KAUST Cell.

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The lawsuit thing was just to get your attention. Don't have money for a law suit, would rather deal with you on technical issues. In past postings I did raise technical issues which you never responded to. Have decided to try again; the AGW concept is based on the idea of a closed system with respect to CO2, the only addition being from that added by humans. I have a question, was it always a closed system? or did humans somehow screw things up.

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We are doing what the Deccan Traps did by injecting warming gases into the atmosphere.

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Well, good to know you have a high opinion of yourself. It was over 100 degrees above Arctic Circle one day because . . . . GLOBAL WARMINGGGGG. Actually you are aware that there are fairly significant oil and coal deposits above the Arctic Circle which would seem to indicate that at some point in the history of the Earth the Arctic was pretty warm. Of course, since the perfect temperature is whatever you decide it should be to support the AGW narrative, that doesn't matter. Not quite sure why you think one must be able to differentiate between a Hadley cell and KAUST cell in order to speak to the issue of wildfires/cause/frequency, etc., other than you trying to show your "intelligence"? Just in case JHS doesn't know, a Hadley Cell is really just the circulation pattern that causes trade winds (air rises at the equator and flows towards the poles), and KAUST is simply the acronym for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the KAUST cell is a small solar cell that increases power conversion efficiency for solar cells. Hasn't been scaled up commercially yet, but if it can be, great. Just in case, Gkam may also regale you with his knowledge of how a team from KAUST has developed a technology for extracting lithium from seawater that shows a great deal of promise, but has yet to be scaled up commercially, but again if it is, would actually be quite good and beneficial for manufacturing of lithium batteries.

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Thanks for your comments. But you know nothing about historical geology. The fact that there are FFs in the Artic does not tell us anything about past conditions. Before the continents were formed were formed there was Pangea and the various parts moved around a lot. One thing we do know about the Artic is that there were Woolly Mammoths on an island that was well within the Artic Circle.

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Thanks for your comments. But you know nothing about historical geology. The fact that there are FFs in the Artic does not tell us anything about past conditions. Before the continents were formed we had Pangea. the parts moved around a lot before the continents as we know them were formed. One thing we do know about the Artic is that there were Woolly Mammoths on Wrengel Island as recently as 4000 yrs ago. That island is well within the Artic Circle.

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