« Best headline of the millennium | Main | I've just got to get this off my chest »

February 09, 2019


All the stuff AOC advocates have the support of the American electorate. As Jim Hightower noted, the only things in the middle of the road are the white lines and dead armadillos.


Dems under 50 strongly support most individual policies contained in the GND (poorly named, in my estimation. Maybe they can start calling it something else. "Contract with America" maybe. It has a certain ring to it.).

Octogenarian Dems had their chance to lead, and they opted for 30 years of Republican Lite. Now, it is time for them either to follow, or to get the hell out of the way.

Those who really prefer Howard Schultz or some other billionaire who doesn't like taxes, or washed up old pols who take big bucks from cozying up to Republicans...well, fuck 'em, I say. AO-C's performance in the Campaign Finance hearings the other day was the best thing any Democrat has done in Congress in the last 40 years.

Purity reigns. The campaign has barely begun and I begin to see the outline of how the Democrats could lose to Trump. And do so by default. Oh well. If they have a shot you may attribute this to Nancy Pelosi. I don’t suppose the nebulous Green Deal will help much as vague as it is since most of it seems dedicated to high flying language about social justice. This may have great appeal to masses of supporters of AOC and her young turkeys but, alas, no one bothered to run it by the Laws of Physics. And those venerable fellows, along with their pals Chemistry and Economics had a hearty laugh about both their goals and timelines. Maybe they should stick to things you actually can legislate, like top marginal tax rates.

On the plus side, at least some of the ones I personally consider un-electable might get culled early because they announced too soon. Hope springs eternal.


Read and learn.

I support the immediate deployment of dilithium crystal based warp drive technology. As soon as we have it. The fact is the policies the GND demands are just not possible yet. We do not have the technology in many cases and may never have those technologies. You cannot legislate technology into existence. Some of the policies are just economically foolish. No one is going to build a hundred billion dollar high speed rail line to connect Dubuque with Poughkeepsie in order to eliminate the air traffic between those points. There are about two areas in the US where high speed rail makes sense and even there the economics are marginal.


The team analyzed 36 years of hourly U.S. weather data (1980 to 2015) to understand the fundamental geophysical barriers to supplying electricity with only solar and wind energy.

"We looked at the variability of solar and wind energy over both time and space and compared that to U.S. electricity demand," Davis said. "What we found is that we could reliably get around 80 percent of our electricity from these sources by building either a continental-scale transmission network or facilities that could store 12 hours' worth of the nation's electricity demand."

The researchers said that such expansion of transmission or storage capabilities would mean very substantial -- but not inconceivable -- investments. They estimated that the cost of the new transmission lines required, for example, could be hundreds of billions of dollars. In comparison, storing that much electricity with today's cheapest batteries would likely cost more than a trillion dollars, although prices are falling.

Other forms of energy stockpiling, such as pumping water uphill to later flow back down through hydropower generators, are attractive but limited in scope. The U.S. has a lot of water in the East but not much elevation, with the opposite arrangement in the West.

Fossil fuel-based electricity production is responsible for about 38 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions -- CO2 pollution being the major cause of global climate change. Davis said he is heartened by the progress that has been made and the prospects for the future.

"The fact that we could get 80 percent of our power from wind and solar alone is really encouraging," he said. "Five years ago, many people doubted that these resources could account for more than 20 or 30 percent."

This is direct from the Daystrom Institute, oops, I meant MIT.

I happen to be a regular correspondent with Dave Roberts and his environmental beat pal Umair Irfan. Dave’s journalistic specialty is not seeing forests for trees. I not only read his stuff, I dissect it. He doens’t like it much but will occasionally slip in a some say critique of the dreamworld. What he doesn’t like to admit is the some say people are the engineers and scientists who actually understand how things work now and where technology is progressing.

Dave likes to talk about things he doesn’t quite understand and assumes that we, we being engineers, have only to expend a little mental elbow grease to make magic happen. We don’t. Batteries still suck as electrical storage. Their energy density is pathetic. Their charging cycles long. Their lifetimes short. And no the journalistic theory of the gold car does not work. Build one and it is expensive, but they don’t get cheaper if you build a million of them when materials cost is the economic driver.

This fact remains, there is not a grid operator in the country that knows how to use wind and solar for more than ten percent of the power they distribute without a severe risk of grid collapse should those sources drop offline.


I refer you to Clarke’s First Law:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

No one is going to build a border wall either, but the candidate who advocated one beat the mealy-mouthed, sure-fire winner that we ran in 2016 like a goddamned drum. If we run some other fossil, the result only will be worse.

It's time we ran someone who's a little closer to groundlings like me and my family, and forget about these old fogies who are complicit with the WPP in smothering every new idea in the cradle, in my opinion. Clinton/Gore/Biden strategies and programs have netted us a Supreme Court that's stacked against us for the next 30 years (Maybe 40...I'll bet those guys have excellent health insurance coverage) and unprecedented wealth inequality in which Clinton/Gore/Biden enjoy the upside.

Yes DA we can build energy storage that is not battery based. But it costs a pile to do it and the laws of thermodynamics says it costs energy too. Furthermore you must build massive amounts of excess wind and solar capacity where it is practical because there is sun or wind, which is not everywhere, in order to use it in real time. You cannot use it and store it. Then of course you run into the problem of despatching this power to where it is needed. And that can be across the continent. We do not yet know how to build such a grid and maintain reliability.

Naturally the wind and solar industries want all of the astounding costs,which only they require, not to be included in the cost of this power. But they can’t really hide. The cost of power will skyrocket and under these projections social justice will be a little hard to achieve. This, by the way, is before everyone is forced to rid themselves of natural gas heating and go electric. Or, as it is known to engineers, the least efficient method of heating a home that exists.

And I haven’t even touched on how fundamentally ignorant the Keep It In the Ground crowd are and they are a major faction of this movement. People on the left are often fond of saying that facts have no ideological bias. And they are right. That applies to them too.

You might try reading the article, where they talk about a truly transcontinental grid and so forth.

I happen to agree with you on this. I see no reason the left should be constrained by truth or reality when it comes to campaigning. But when it comes to policy there is a price to pay for lying. When none of these policies turn into reality then AOC and the gang will just be another bunch of politicians who could not deliver on their promises. And I am as sure as anything that they will blame someone else rather than reality.

There is a wonderful litmus test for determining if someone knows what they are talking about or not. If they say the following words, solving this is just a matter of political will, then they are idiots.

Should call it Kelvin’s law since he committed a classic bloomer along those lines by proving heavier than air flight was physically impossible. About a decade before it happened. I will settle for a place to even look for some of these solutions. Physical chemistry is well advanced. There are more scientists and engineers working on these problems alone than existed on the planet a hundred years ago. Now my specialty happens to be material science where a lot of the incremental gains are coming from. But they are incremental. Where do we look to increase energy density of batteries by a factor of ten instead of 2 percent? How do we make such batteries last long enough so electric vehicle are not just for rich people. How do we reduce the charging cycle to the point where you don’t have to pave whole states with parking lots filled with charging stations? Anybody seen an electric farm tractor or tractor trailer? Elon built one. Wouldn’t let anybody examine it and then it disappeared. I am not sure if AOC is dumb enough to think you can legislate technology but they tried that in the EU with diesel. It was the politicians who mandated what technology aotomotive manufacturers must invent. But they couldn’t come up with anything but crappy urea scrubbers. Because there isn’t anything else to find.

This thread, so far, has been the most interesting and enjoyable that I have ever read on this blog. At last, your various gazes have shifted from that eccentric fellow in the White House to the mounting problems within your own Party. You have about 18 months left to solve them or your worst nightmare will recur again. "Oh, the horror, the horror!"

As for your concern about having cheap electric vehicles, they already do.


As for urea scrubbers:


Catalytic scrubbing was supposed to cut diesel NOx emissions up to 90 percent, according to the Diesel Technology Forum, an industry group based outside Washington. That made diesel engines clean enough to use in passenger cars, which have stricter emissions rules.


You have power, you have energy, you have emissions: You get to choose two of them," said Don Hillebrand, the director of energy systems research at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, and the former president of the Society for Automotive Engineers.

Cars built by Mercedes-Benz, for instance, inject an extra fluid called urea to convert NOx into less harmful substances. This approach (called Bluetec) doesn't compromise on fuel economy or power, but it requires a separate tank for the urea, which must be periodically refilled, Herner said.

Some advice:


Trump has had two years to solve his problems, and he’s “eccentric”.


I will be happy to explain it to you. If you would like that is. But if it were so easy to do with the large scale despatchable power sources we have now then why haven’t we done that? And how easy will it be to do with literally hundreds of thousands of discrete power generators with very unpredictable generating behavior. Anybody who says they know how to do this is lying. The difficulty is orders of magnitude beyond anything attempted anywhere in the world.

I am quite familiar with the state of the art on this. You are referring to SCR. Other techniques require DPF and/or EGR or some combination thereof and it all adds complexity and costs. Quite a lot of cost as it happens. All this really means is that automotive diesels for passenger vehicles are dead ducks in the long term. They will not be able to compete economically.

Pogo's grammar is, alas, no better than Mediaite's. We have met the enemy, and he is WE!

DEMS: What's more important? Saving the planet; or saving democracy. At this point, they are mutually exclusive. Let's work on controlling the House, Senate and Executive Office and new Supreme Court Justices. Save the Green New Deals for later.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 12.31.37 PM
Your host, P.M. Carpenter (photo credit: L. Reeves)

Recent Posts and Archives

B v. t