Flemish (onshore) windmills have almost the same capacity as a nuclear reactor

The journalists of our beloved Flemish media seem to go ballistic lately. Yesterday there was the item in the VTM news about the current “drought” that was “direct result of climate change”. Today the VRT news felt it had to compete with that and went full stupid in an article with the sensational title:

Flemish windmills have almost the same capacity as a nuclear reactor

vrt news 20161228 windmil

Apparently the onshore windmills in Flandres have a total capacity of 920 MW, which is only slightly below the capacity of (some of) our nuclear turbines (at somewhat above 1,000 MW).

Hurraaaah!!!

I am afraid that I have to spoil that party…

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A wet/dry December because of climate change

wet dry december

The Flemish TV news (VTM) of this evening left me completely and utterly bewildered (translated from Dutch, my emphasis):

December is almost over and if the forecast doesn’t change, it will remain dry for the rest of the year and then there will only be seven days with rain during this month. That is very little, we have to go back 126 years for a month of December with so few rainy days. The air quality is bad. A lot of smog is lingering. And it is yet another indication that our climate is changing.

¿Que?

There were only seven days with rain this month and that is ALREADY an indication of climate change?

Less than … one entire month?!

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The noble art of framing the Greenland melt as worse than it is

The subject of previous post was a scene in the documentary “Before The Flood” in which Leonardo DiCaprio had a conversation with Jason Box in Greenland. I then came to the conclusion that they didn’t give a honest representation of the facts. This post will build on that, but it will expand it to how the public perceives such a scene.

From my own history, I remember that I was interested in the global warming issue, but I was too busy with other things in my life. I wasn’t checking facts, I just relied on what the media was claiming. I believed what they said was true and, although I assumed that they were exaggerating the issue, I believed that in essence they were right. This post will be about how people with no background on the issue (and do not check these facts after viewing for example this documentary) will probably perceive this scene.

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Oh, My God! Greenland is melting!

Before The Flood - sceenshot 4

After the claim of the projections of the climate models being “really conservative”, the scene continued with a conversation about the Greenland ice loss:

[Jason Box]
If climate stays at the temperature that it has been in in the last decade, Greenland is going away.

That is interesting. When I heard this claim, it started to itch to explore this a bit more. But before doing that, let’s see how the conversation on the glacier continued. Leonardo walks towards a crevasse in which there was a violent stream of glacial water finding its way to the ocean:

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Projections for the future: really conservative or just unreliable?

Before The Flood - Jason Box

In the documentary “Before the flood” there was this scene in which Leonardo DiCaprio was in a conversation with Jason Box on a glacier in Greenland. This came after a scene of Leonardo DiCaprio in his earlier days when he still was thinking that global warming could be solved with small individual actions, like changing light bulbs. Then an ominous sounding voice-over:

But it is pretty clear that we are way beyond that point right now. Things are taken a massive turn for the worse.

Cue in a calving glacier, followed by Jason Box saying:

“We keep finding things that aren’t in the climate models. They are used to project the future. So that tells me that the projections for the future are really conservative.”

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Calimero on the hockey stick controversy

When I was about ten years old, there was an animated cartoon series on television, called “Calimero”. Calimero is a cartoon character, a black chick in a family of yellow chickens. It is a charming, innocent hatchling, still wearing half of its egg shell on its head. In each episode it is getting into situations where it genuinely trying to help, but because of its inexperience and its inability to recognize unwanted situations, it is never coming to a happy end. At the end of each episode it is repeating its mantra: “This is not fair, they are big and I am small”. Calimero is the prototype of an innocent, good-meaning victim in a mean world.

Watching the documentary “Before The Flood”, there was a scene that reminded me of Calimero. It was the scene in which Michael Mann explained his struggles with regard to the hockey stick controversy in an interview taken by DiCaprio. Here is that part of the interview:

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A “massive” disinformation campaign, sure, but by whom?

Before the flood: 97% agree

In the documentary “Before the Flood” there were several scenes that stood out like a sore thumb. One of them was a scene in which Michael Mann claimed:

There is about as much as robust a consensus human caused climate change than there is for any matter in science, be it the theory of gravity. 97% of climate scientists agree that the globe is warming. Our climate is changing and it is due to fossil fuel burning and other human activities. Unfortunately we are fighting this massive disinformation campaign to confuse the public.

The comparison between human caused climate change as a robust consensuses like gravity was quite puzzling. So I searched the internet for what he could mean by this claim. I ended up with the recent article “We can’t afford to wait”, in which he and Kim Kasting explain their gravity example and what it means for climate science. This is how they explain it, apparently as a reaction to a column of a Jonah Goldberg on settled science (my emphasis on the most important parts to understand the reasoning):

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