A non-sequitur or not a non-sequitur?

The subject of the second episode of the evidencesquared podcast mentioned in the previous post is among other “Scott Pruitt’s denial of the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming, both in a CNBC interview and in his hearing for head of the EPA”. At 03:57 in the podcast, the presenters start a audio excerpt of an interview of Scott Pruitt at CNBC back in 2017 when he was the head of the EPA (the interview at CNBC can be viewed here):

Scott Pruitt C?BC March 3, 2017 interview

[Interviewer CNBC]
Do you believe that it has been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate? Do you believe that?

[Scott Pruitt]
No, I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do. There is a tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So, no, I would not agree that it is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.

[Interviewer CNBC]
Okay

[Scott Pruitt]
We don’t know that yet. As far as, we need to continue the review and the analysis.

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Consensus on not just “some” warming, but “most” of the warming?

The most surprising find in the evidencesquared episode 2 podcast (see previous post) is a statement by John Cook about the endorsement levels of the Cook 2013 paper. This is how he reacts to his observation that some skeptics claim that they belong to the 97% because they believe that the world is warming and humans have some influence (my emphasis):

[John Cook]
Yeah, and the way that the consensus position is often expressed by people who don’t accept the consensus: “Well, I am part of the 97%, because I think that humans are causing some of global warming, but I don’t think it is most and therefor that makes me part of the 97%”.

[Peter Jacobs]
Right, we saw that with criticism from publishing of the Wall Street Journal, for example.

[John Cook]
Yeah, we come to that in a moment, but the problem with that argument is, in our 2013 study, we explicitly ruled that out as an option. Whenever there was an expression that humans are causing less than half of global warming, we categorized that as rejection of the consensus. So the person who thought that humans are causing some, just not more than half, that is a rejection of the consensus.

Huh?!?!

I remembered from reading the Cook 2013 paper that there were only two levels of endorsement that quantified the consensus and the papers in those two levels just amounted to less than 1% of all papers in their data set. How on Earth could he now claim that they considered it rejecting the consensus when a paper expressed that “humans are causing less than half of global warming” when almost all data had no clear quantification?

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Cook’s critique on Sanders

Remember one of previous posts about a video explaining the Cook 2016 paper, in which Bernie Sanders extended the consensus position well beyond what was found in the paper? In the meanwhile, I came to know that Cook apparently criticized Sanders because of such overreaching statement(s). That immediately drew my attention. I wondered in what form this “criticizing” was done, so I found myself searching for that critique.

It wasn’t that simple though, but after a long search, I found that Sanders’ statement was criticized in a podcast from the evidencesquared site, more specifically “episode 2”.

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Claim: 97% consensus found for “many decades”

Cook introducing the consensus

One has to be on one’s guard when John Cook is presenting the result of his findings. Previous post was about Cook illustrating his research with exaggerated claims from three politicians. This post will be about his first sentence in that video, just after the statements of the politicians:

For many decades, study after study have found that 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.

That specific claim drew my attention. It seems to suggest that many studies found that 97% result over a long time frame. From what I learned about the consensus papers, that didn’t agree very well with reality.

Let’s take it part by part and see where we get.

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Three politicians and a comedian introducing the consensus

Recently, I came across The Consensus Handbook by Cook, van der Linden, Maibach and Lewandowsky. It was already the first text that I encountered (the take-away message on the introduction on page 3) that caught my attention (my emphasis):

Based on the evidence, 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. This scientific consensus has been a hot topic in recent years. It’s been referenced by presidents, prime ministers, senators, congressmen, and in numerous television shows and newspaper articles.

That last sentence reminded me of a video in which lead author John Cook explained his 2016 paper (Consensus on Consensus). It was the introduction in the video that puzzled me until now:

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A simple model: seasonal storage in perspective

In previous posts, I threw around a bunch of numbers and sometimes mentioned that these are insanely high, but never gave an idea how high. I now will try to put them in perspective in this post. I found a sweet spot where solar and wind both could deliver enough power to meet demand. This happened at 8.57 times the current capacity of solar and wind, supported by seasonal storage of 2,421 GWh. I called that an insane amount of storage. How would this compare to actual demand over the year?

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A simple model: an optimal mix of solar and wind?

When comparing seasonal characteristics of solar and wind in previous post, there was one graph that got my attention:

simple energy model (charts007d) - belgium - solar x10 and wind x19.05 - reference year: 2018 - with_unlimited_storage

It shows wind got shortages (visible orange lines) during the summer months, while solar had its best production at the same time. Solar got shortages in the beginning and end of the year, while wind had a decent production at the same time. Then it is tempting to assume that solar and wind are complementary. I understand that solar and wind are only complementary on average. When it comes to individual timeslots, they are certainly not complementary. That is an disadvantage when production and demand need to be in balance at all times.

What if we throw in storage? Is there an optimal mix of solar and wind that can deliver as much as possible direct power from solar and wind, therefor minimizing storage requirements? Separately, both solar and wind have dizzying storage requirements. Yet they could be balanced by means of 2,421 GWh storage in my first post on storage. This tells me that quite some gain is possible combining them both. Can we go even lower by varying both capacities? Maybe even in a storage range that is feasible? However, at a higher multiplier both drifted apart and solar was left far behind, so it might not be as simple as it looks.

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