Hurricanes, Solar Panels and Grid Resilience

by James A. Bacon

According to what the nation’s ruling elites tell us is the climate-change consensus, a warming climate increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. “Because global warming is intensifying, scientists expect the number of extreme storms to continue rising,” writes David Leonhardt, a New York Times opinion columnist.

One would think, then, that this insight would inform the remedies proposed for climate change, such as re-engineering the nation’s electric grid to rely almost exclusively upon wind and solar power. If the frequency and intensity of hurricanes is increasing, it would be appropriate to ask here in Virginia, what standards do we have in place for the construction of wind turbines and solar panels to ensure that they can withstand hurricane-force winds?

North Carolina had a recent opportunity to observe the interaction of hurricanes and solar panels. Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Tarheel state last month, striking solar a solar farm in Currituck County with wind speeds near 60 miles per hour. The solar arrays are supposed to withstand wind speeds of up to 120 miles per hour. How did they hold up?

Reports the Virginian-Pilot:

Hurricane Dorian winds mangled dozens of solar panels and their metal frames at a site in Grandy, raising fears among neighbors that sharp pieces could fly into yards and homes.

Carolyn and Steven Brown recorded from their dining room window a metal rack of solar panels violently rocking up and down during the storm. The panels are only about 350 feet away.

“It looked like waves on the water,” Steven Brown said. “What would have happened if we had a direct hit?”

County officials inspected the site after the storm and found dozens of broken panels and bent metal racks. Some distorted metal pieces can be seen sticking up in the air from U.S. 158 in Grandy. …

The solar array sits on 101 acres of what once was a golf course surrounded by homes and businesses. More than 55,000 solar panels, each a little smaller than a sheet of plywood, are fastened to long rows of metal racks. The project was still under construction when Dorian hit. …

As the solar panels flopped in the wind, the Browns worried pieces might fly off and hit their home.

Opponents of the solar farm warned that panels might become projectiles — as, perhaps, they would have had Hurricane Dorian been more violent.

Bacon’s bottom line: There are two layers of concern. The first is that expressed by the Browns, in which high winds might rip the solar panels off their metal racks and turn them into projectiles. The second is the grid-wide perspective of what would happen if a Class 4 or Class 5 hurricane wiped out entire solar farms and wind farms?

In a grid with a mix of energy sources, including nuclear and natural gas, there isn’t much to worry about. However, in a zero-carbon grid, which Gov. Ralph Northam has called for by 2050, Virginians would be far more exposed to the devastation of a hurricane. Indeed, they would be exceedingly vulnerable if, as some environmentalists have called for, licenses on the state’s nuclear power plants are allowed to expire.

Although Dominion Energy is building a “demonstration” wind turbine project off the coast of Virginia Beach, it will be in commission only two or three years before the utility starts building a massive wind farm that will supply much of the electricity to Virginia’s Tidewater region. While the various parties involved with the wind project are confident that facility will do just fine, we won’t know for certain how the giant turbines will hold up unless a hurricane cooperates and strikes the Virginia coast within that narrow two- to three-year time frame.

In the meantime, Virginia should be learning what it can from North Carolina’s experience with solar panels — as in, sending knowledgeable people down to Currituck County to examine first-hand what happened and to ascertain whether the county’s construction standards are adequate for Virginia conditions. If we really believe that hurricanes pose an ever-increasing threat, as the New York Times tells us we must, we should take seriously the risk that hurricanes could disrupt the electric grid.

In the mind of environmentalists who believe that climate change represents an existential threat to the planet, Virginia’s power companies are dragging their feet in deploying renewable energy resources. The stakes are so high and the need so urgent that the climate crisis calls for a “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach. To those of us who believe that the planet is warming but don’t see humanity in peril of extinction, the situation calls for a measure of prudence. By all means, let’s move toward a clean, renewable grid. But let us also recognize that the 21st-century civilization collapses without electricity and that the reliability and resiliency of the grid is likewise a societal imperative.

(Hat tip: Rick Gechter)

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47 responses to “Hurricanes, Solar Panels and Grid Resilience

  1. Denier!! Luddite!! 🙂 (Do they get a second tax incentive for re-building?) Hey, any flat solid surface in that kind of wind will generate lift, and those babies are angled to boot. Good thing that the “storm frequency and intensity” argument is total BS, but hurricanes and tornadoes will always be with us nonetheless.

  2. To the simplistic mind, every action has one and only one consequence. A simple solution, especially when proffered by rent seekers and repeated endlessly by mindless but woke journalists, should be questioned by those of us without simplistic minds and without regard to our beliefs on climate change and renewable energy.

    Most problems and proposed solutions are complex and may require tradeoffs. It would be hard for a hurricane to destroy a traditional power plant (I used to do some legal work for Commonwealth Edison and learned how they hardened their power plants.) But it would be much easier for unprotected solar panels to be damaged or destroyed. This is not to argue against solar energy but, rather, to argue the vulnerability of solar panels should be part of the decision-making process.

    As far as lift caused by wind is concerned, I seem to recall a couple of Ohio bicycle makers figured that out a long time ago.

    • Yep, just a couple of miles from this exact location, by Wright Flyer….been there in December and it’s darn windy.

      Back on topic, this yet another reason you want most of these projects to be third-party providers selling to the utility, not utility-owned. The ratepayers should not take all this risk.

  3. I have recently read a little about the offshore wind turbine blade erosion maintenance probs due the high speed the blades travel (the blades look slow and majestic to the eye, but in reality that is over 100 mph you are seeing).

    Apparently the NJ offshore wind project will utilize GE’s latest new humongous turbine blades. Sounds good for GE, but I hope the design is “torture” tested and robust? Sometimes tried and true is better, but if these new GE blades can stand the test of time, OK OK. But these days management cannot justify bullet proofing and thorough trial testing like the old days we used to do.

  4. First …from past research and off the top of my head … evidently the offshore windmills are capable of withstanding hurricane strength winds as far south as Virginia. Get’s chancy in the Carolinas with today’s tech.

    A few solar stories from the internet …
    NREL’s campus in Golden Colorado, a net-zero building with 3.000 solar panels on the roof, came through a strong hail storm with only one broken panel. The cars and home roofs nearby didn’t survive as well … with broken windows and dents.

    NJ’s 103MW of solar survived hurricane Sandy very well with 2 panels gone and a small amount of water damage to a few metal casings.

    And in Puerto Rico … “A 645 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array on San Juan’s VA Hospital installed in 2015 continued to operate 100 percent post-storm, even though it was exposed to 180 MPH hurricane winds.” Evidently the key to the durability of the PR system was its racking and anchoring systems. Flexible racking allowed the system to “bend under stress rather than staying rigid and eventually breaking.”

    Certainly, a solar system’s ability to survive bad weather of all kinds is prudent to consider. The solar industry’s International Photovoltaic Quality Assurance Task Force’s rates module durability with a focus on testing for elements that significantly contribute to wear, fatigue, and stress in PV modules. Currently PVQAT is proposing a test that will differentiate three climates (desert, tropical, and temperate) and two ‘use environments’ (open rack and close-roof mount).

    This test protocol is being discussed by the International Electrotechnical Commission, an international standards organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution, including solar power.

    Do tell though … exactly what part of the science of warming do you not believe? The scientists tell us we have 10 years to make a drastic difference in the accumulation of GHG or the costs and disruptions from rising sea levels, food production issues like droughts and acidic seas, typhoons and, and, and … It seems a lot more prudent to not believe the falsehoods promulgated by the fossil-based industries who are hoping to hang onto their old profit business models for as long as possible. Seems more prudent to be prepared. To do what we can as fast as we can.

  5. This is really silly stuff. In a major hurricane ALL KINDS of metal and wood is flying through the air so WHY are we worried about one kind?

    And the second one – wiping out vast solar farms. The beauty of solar is that is is DISTRIBUTED – geographically.

    And yet the anti-solar folks keep bringing these canards up for the gullible to believe.

    Solar panels and wind turbines are no more immune to Cat 4-5 hurricanes than a LOT of other infrastructure. So what? Do we want to have a regulation that says any/all infrastructure has to survive a Cat 5 hurricane? Get ready for some real howling from folks who have nothing to do with solar.

    It’s time to see the anti-solar crowd for what they are… which is more Luddite than not. solar and wind have a legitimate role in the grid – and we would be just dumb to not use it -when appropriate with the right building design specs.

    • I’m not bashing solar power — I’m trying to make sure that solar power works. One way to make sure solar works is to pay attention to what’s happening around us and remedy the issues that crop up. And one of those issues is making sure the solar panels don’t break or fly off in a hurricane.

      As usual, you are loose with the accusations, saying stuff like “it’s time to see the anti-solar crowd for what they are — more Luddite than not.” Who, specifically, are you referring to, Larry? Which specific statements did I make that triggered that response?

      You know, I think you might have a future in the Washington press corps!

      • No you’re not but you are citing the lame arguments from anti-solar folks.

        I think I’m on fairly solid ground with the “anti-solar” moniker – just look back over the last 20-30 BR posts on things like anti-solar advocates in Culpeper arguing against solar… calling it “industrial scale” as if power lines, pipelines or gas plants are not – and all of them are spread over the countryside!

  6. There’s the straight stuff, Larry (and Jane). Fun timeline. I was 12 and living in CA for that first fake news headline. I remember a bunch of this stuff. The image can be captured and shared (hat tip: WUWT) What part of the dire predictions do I not accept? Not a darn one of them.

    Hey, I’m fine with a fair amount of solar, and actually not too worried about the infrastructure because the developer (again, the monopoly utility is the one not to trust) has all the incentive to make sure it survives a storm. But it is a reason to think if you live right up beside one (same as a trailer park.)

    • With every issue except Climate Change fka Global Warming, all of these wild predictions that were missed would go to credibility. (Think of the preachers who have announced the end of the world but missed.) But since Climate Science has moved from “science” to the Secular Religion of many, the prophets are regularly excused from accountability. If they are wrong, don’t question their credibility or we’ll call your a denier.

      Further in most endeavors we often look for the rent seekers, e.g. Dominion and taxpayer funded universities. But we are all told that there are no rent seekers in the Climate game. I guess that, so long as you support controlling every aspect of people’s lives except for their gender preference and ability to ignore immigration laws, you can make as much money of the working and middle classes as you can.

    • A funny list … but those headlines were certainly not written by the scientists who have studied and written bout the issues and effects of globsl warming …

      Want to give us a list of who said all that goofy stuff? Can’t believe Al Gore said all the ice caps would be gone by 2013.

    • Steve – you probably remember a load of other stuff also – like Duck and COVER! or “just say no” “survival shelters”, etc. … times change guy… and there are a lot of players in the doom and gloom game with all sorts of foolish predictions… the trick is to not just focus on one!

      The one thing you DO KNOW is that when 50 hurricane scientists predict some path – and each one is different – one of them is usually correct – and that illustrates science and modelling… You’d pick the ones that predicted wrong to “prove” science was “wrong” right even though the two most recent ones did grievious damage – as predicted at the same time the dumber ones were holding hurricane parties!

    • Haner – I really dig your chart, especially the zany craziness of the 1970s ICE AGE SCARE.

      Of course the weather was then changing. For Goodness Sake what’s new! The weather changes every damn day. Always has.

      In any case, during the 1970s ICE AGE, we decided that if God was giving us lemons, we would make lemonade. Thus, every January and February during the 1970’s ICE AGE, on Fridays at 2 p.m., I’d rush out of my law offices just off Pennsylvania Ave. DC, and head for the Growing Waves of Ice. Often times I’d head north for roughly 12 hours driving straight through to Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. There, at 2 a.m. we’d roll out of the car into a snow bank for 2 hours sleep, then we’d hump up the long cold trail to Huntington’s Ravine for two days climbing gully ice flowing down the great ravine, with Saturdays nights spend just below in Harvard Hut or outside the hut if crowded. Then after two days of glorious climbing it was 12 hours back to DC. Leaving Pinkham at 7 p.m on Sundays, I was back in law offices by 9 a.m on Mondays, including a two hour stopover at home in Chevy Chase to say hello to wife and kids. Poor wife and toddler kids. The former hated my 2o year old ice climbing buddy, though he was crazy and bad influence on her husband, especially after he appeared at her door seemingly alone with caked stream of blood down left side of his face cut by a wildly spinning loose share of flying ice.

      For shorter days trips during the ICE AGE Scare, we headed for Little Devil’s Staircase west of Little Washington, Virginia. These little waterfalls there were typically frozen by early January in the 1970s, and great fun if you were hungry for ice wherever it hung. Plus afterwards there was Cramer’s workshop and the Inn in Little Washington est. in late 1970s, my ice climber buddy and I among its very first customers. Food then after ice climbing never tasted better, indeed was heaven sent.

      Plus Little Washington was a historic town even then. My father in law had spent the night in Jail there in the 1930s. A poor boy, he was hitch hiking home to Roanoke, when picked up along the side of the road outside Warrenton by a flashy guy in a fancy roadster that, unbeknown to him, happened to be stolen. The cops caught up with the thief in his fancy stolen car outside Little Washington. Fortunately for young father in law, the truth of his innocence in the incident was revealed the following morning in the court house in Little Washington.

      Please, note in your charts Steve, how all these scares stopped during the two terms of Ronald Reagan. Sure proof that sanity returned to the nation for the brief eight years of his terrific presidency. Then even the nations weather calmed.

  7. Believe it. Every one of those claims/headlines had some group of esteemed scientists or some major university behind it. Now who is the denier? 🙂 Well, some may have had just one, but it would be a Paul Ehrlich or somebody of that caliber. The “cooling consensus” was (to borrow a word) huge.

    • There are always “stuidies” from individual scientists – it’s when a LOT of them start to agree that you need to use your noggin.

      It took decades – for science to “prove” that cigarettes were bad … all the one the deniers claimed that science was wrong… and we still have some folks who think that way about things.

  8. Well if yiou won’t give us the sources for even one of those headlines …how about the source of the list?

    Sure ..some of us think we need to move fast now, maybe because the info has been out there since 1965. President Johnson had a 1965 report predicting “measurable and perhaps marked changes in climate” in the decades to follow. That’s 50+ years ago.

    James Hanson published his analysis 31 years ago. Since then “nearly half of the Arctic ice cap has melted away, the oceans have acidified, lower Manhattan, South Florida, Houston, and New Orleans have flooded, and average temperatures have continued to climb.

    Hansen says it is technically feasible to begin to drawn down CO2 levels. All we have to do, to begin, is to stop building new coal plants, phase out old coal plants and begin reforestation on a massive scale. He says it would take several decades but we could get back to safer CO2 level..

    • The list was compiled by Anthony Watts on If I found all the exact citations, would you reconsider? No.

      Jane, neither of us will change each other’s mind. Yes, there is warming, but nobody has proved CO2 is the “cause,” not at all. Water vapor is a stronger indicator, but the hypothesis is not testable. The model projections don’t work. It is not even proven that things don’t work the other way, and a warming planet causes the release of CO2! I’m fine with no more coal plants, but you’d better call China and India. I don’t doubt the atmospheric CO2 levels would respond to that prescription, but you can’t prove the temperature will go either way, up or down. Yes there is ocean rise, but that also has been going on since the end of the ice age, slight and slow but steady. The truth is no cause for hysteria – no crisis, sorry.

  9. I am not exactly trying to change your mind as much as trying to understand how you can so blithely disregard the findings and conclusions of 97% of the scientists who study the issues.

    Here is a clip from the Skeptical Scientist list of climate myths … #36 is about the greenhouse effect of water vapor which deniers say is the most powerful GHG. Science says …. skeptics are right in saying that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. What they don’t mention is that the water vapor feedback loop actually makes temperature changes caused by CO2 even bigger. How much does water vapor amplify CO2 warming? Studies show that water vapor feedback roughly doubles the amount of warming caused by CO2.

    “How does this work? The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere exists in direct relation to the temperature. If you increase the temperature, more water evaporates and becomes vapor, and vice versa. So, when something else causes a temperature increase (such as extra CO2 from fossil fuels), more water evaporates. Then, since water vapor is a greenhouse gas, this additional water vapor causes the temperature to go up even further—a positive feedback.”

    “Skeptical Science” was created and maintained by John Cook, a research assistant professor at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. John co-authored the college textbooks Climate Change: Examining the Facts with Weber State University professor Daniel Bedford. He was also a coauthor of the textbook Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis and the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand.

    Re China and India … China’s emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases are likely to peak by 2022 even without the introduction of tougher policies, well ahead of an original target of “around” 2030, a senior government researcher said on Thursday. AND China is the world’s biggest Green Bond seller.

    India … The Indian government has made a global commitment to reduce emission intensity by 33-35% from 2005 levels. “One of the main strategies India is adopting to achieve this goal is by having 40% electricity generation capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030,” from BNEF.

    • “I am trying to understand how you can so blithely disregard the findings and conclusions of 97% of the scientists who study the issues.”

      At the risk of prolonging a conversation in which no one has a prayer of persuading the other, let me take exception to the above assertion. That finding was based upon a methodology that has been torn to shreds. Further, check out this Wikipedia page for a list of scientists who have expressed skepticism of all or part of the “climate change” theory:

      I’ll concede that a significant majority of scientists believe in “climate change,” but the skeptics are not a kooky, marginalized fringe.

      More to the point, to say 97% (or pick your percentage) believe in “climate change” is utterly meaningless statement. The climate change orthodoxy consists of a series of nested propositions:

      (1) Temperatures are increasing, and the current increase in temperatures is unprecedented in historical memory. This is disputed.

      (2) Rising CO2 levels (with an assist from methane) is the primary driver behind rising temperatures. This, too, is contested.

      (3) The impact of rising CO2 levels and higher temperatures is universally negative, with no offsetting benefits. This, too, is disputed.

      (4) Climate change represents an existential threat to human civilization and life on the planet. Also disputed.

      (5) The best way to deal with the climate challenge is to re-engineer the world’s energy economy in a way that, just so coincidentally, matches the ideological predilection of climate-change alarmists for stronger state controls. Highly controversial.

      I’m open to being converted on any one of these topics. But please, puh-lease, let’s not pretend that 97% of all scientists agree!

      • I hobnob with some scientists from different disciplines, different industries and they generally feel they are hearing a lot of hype. This is the progressives big problem, in my view, and why we got Trumped. Liberal view is we need to mandate a national emergency and mandate progressive-lead restructuiring of Americn society. The problem with this, if progressives get control, is lack of consensus.

  10. I see the skeptic thing like I see Trump supporters. THey know what they know and no one is going to change their mind because they can show all kinds of conflicting data that they are quite sure they understand even though they have little real scientific education.

    It boils down to a simple proposition which you hear from cigarette smokers often which is ” it is not proven that I will get cancer from smoking”. ” In fact my grandfather lived to 97 and smoke every day), etc, etc..

    Are you willing to gamble that science is wrong about GW? Some of us are and some are not. It’s not what you believe – it’s what risk are you willing to take based on what you believe?

    • If 85% of scientists believe humans have a “significant” role in global warming, that’s far from unanimity. And the role of humans in global warming is only one of the propositions in the larger climate change debate.

    • Your link indicates that there is consensus that global temperatures are rising. Literally no one disputes that. The questions are how unprecedented the rise is, how fast it will be, the impact it will have, and how to best address it.

  11. Most of us won’t live to see the outcome of this debate. If the alarmists win, and triple my energy bill, or the cost of steak (their other goal), it merely comes out of my estate. If that’s what my kids and grandkids want and vote for, hey, I’m living my life as I want and they get what is left. If the alarmists win, my kids and grandkids will need it (if President Warren doesn’t start taxing 401k balances directly….)

    But the appeal to authority (consensus) is a very, very weak argument. It shows me you got nothing else. Point me to firm evidence that the warnings of catastrophe I’ve been hearing for 30 years, since 1988, are showing any sign of being true. You can’t. The evidence instead shows gradual warming, gradual sea rise, time for adaptation, time to change the energy mix, and still plenty of reason this could be natural variability. And if you are really worried about this, go to China and India (despite their PR promises) because the US is doing largely what you want and much of the rest of the world merely pretending.

  12. Science is NEVER 100% infallible. It is ALWAYS a continuum and full of debate and disagreement as evidence continues to be collected – whether it’s cancer, or ozone holes or cigarette smoking or right now today – Vaping. Science did not predict harm from vaping.. but here it is now and WHO are we listening to in figuring out what is going on? A bunch of folks who are not scientists who say that they can look at the evidence and figure it out? That’s how ridiculous people are now.

    Disbelieving science because it has been proven wrong before – is not understanding how science does work, and when you find yourself “explaining” worldwide consensus as de facto proof of a worldwide conspiracy – well… the skeptics don’t say that outright – but it is in essence what they are saying – i.e. that scientists around the world and in our own NASA and NOAA are liars colluding en masse to foster a hoax of … world-wide proportions – on the population of earth.

    Think about that? If you think that do you also think there are other worldwide conspiracies? And where do you get these beliefs from? From people who are not scientists at all – they just promote the idea that they can look at scientific data and determine that science is lying about the data that science itself collects. That they doctor the data and lie about it – to the world.

    Sorry, I cannot go there. There are indeed a lot of nefarious folks in this word but to believe that they form a cadre of evil scientists around the world seeking to foist a hoax on -the world , geeze.

  13. Again, you create and then fight straw men. You invent the other side’s arguments. It is not a conspiracy and I doubt anybody is evil (except those who seek to stifle debate, that’s evil.) But the people who build wind turbines and solar panels are capitalists and rent seekers, too, just like the coal barons. I see a world where you always need to follow the money…..cui bono.

    Oh, and ask DJ and his friends about the vaping deaths. “Science” certainly says filling your lungs with foreign substances is harmful, the but recent deaths are Lady Mary Jane’s fault….DJ’s gone silent. (But he would say, correctly, that the adulterated product is due to the black market.)

  14. There is a fallacy in logic known as “truth by consensus” sometimes referred to as authority of the many, bandwagon fallacy, appeal to the number, argumentum ad numerum, argumentum consensus gentium, appeal to the mob and appeal to the gallery.” I always remember it as “50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong.”

    Acceptance of a proposition by a large number of people does not make the proposition true. For example, a large number of Americans in the 19th Century believed it would be dangerous for women to vote because they lacked the reasoning abilities of men.” The number of believers did not make this proposition true on either point, especially in the face of evidence that women and men are equally good (or bad) thinkers. Madame Curie anyone? Ditto for the almost universal belief that the sun revolved around the sun.

    Any proposition supported by 90% plus of scientists surely deserves serious consideration but so does their source of funding and political beliefs. But it does not make their conclusions necessarily true.

    It’s clear that some of the “science” supporting extreme conclusions on Climate Change are supported by false measurements and adjusted trend lines – something that would result in a student using the same to fail the course. Likewise, when virtually all the research money comes with the intention to support research that makes extreme conclusions one must raise questions.

    If we really wanted to have a better understanding of climate, we’d fund research that examines all aspects of it and challenges “accepted thinking.” What would NOAA report if it spent equal amounts of money for research challenging the extreme conclusions on human activity and changes in climate?

    I’m not arguing that collective behavior cannot affect climate, we should not care about what we emit into the air or that we shouldn’t find renewable sources of energy. But why do we accept “truth by consensus” with respect to climate science when equally qualified experts show serious errors in the accepted reasoning and methodology?

    Rent seeking is wrong irrespective of who is doing it.

  15. Here is a list of responses to what I see as the worst descriptions from this discussion.

    “An ideological predilection of climate-change alarmists for stronger state controls?”
    I certainly vote for stronger state controls but that is not based on a desire for state controls. The state doesn’t do that very well sometimes. This old lady remembers the first bipartisan Earth Day when we all wanted regulations to stop industry from dumping toxics into our air and water. How could any of us drive safely down a road that has no rules?

    “Most of us won’t live to see the outcome of this debate. If the alarmists win, and triple my energy bill, … it merely comes out of my estate.”
    Larry asks … Are you willing to gamble that science is wrong about GW? Is it only all about money, and whatever happens is OK because the worst will come after you are dead and gone? WOW!

    “Point me to firm evidence that the warnings of catastrophe I’ve been hearing for 30 years, since 1988, are showing any sign of being true.”
    Temperature rise, Global mean sea level rise, increased ocean acidification, sea surface temperature rise, dramatic glacier melt, droughts, rising measurements of heat trapping GHG in the atmosphere. One very visible sign … Glaciers all over the world have been melting for at least the last 50 years, and the rate of melting is speeding up.
    Would the fact that the DOD is evaluating over 3500 bases around the world for potential climate risks strike a chord for you?

    “triple my energy bill?”
    HUH? Onshore wind and large scale solar are the cheapest forms of generation right now. The cost of Offshore wind and storage are dropping rapidly. The cost of climate effects will be much worse and really send your bills soaring. NOAA says, as of July 9 in 2019, there have been 6 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States.

    “the appeal to authority (consensus) is a very, very weak argument. ”
    ‘Authority’ is not ‘consensus’. Scientific conclusions are not ‘authority’. My appeal has been to science. There the level of consensus correlates with the level of expertise in climate science. The naysayers are not ‘equally qualified’ because their work is in other fields of science.

    “The US is doing largely what you want … rest of the world merely pretending”
    From the UN Emission Gap report …“Now more than ever, unprecedented and urgent action is required BY ALL NATIONS. … Collectively the G20 will achieve Cancun pledges by 2020.
    More than on track: India, Russia, Turkey are all more than 10% below their targets.
    On track: Brazil, China, Japan.
    Not on track: Argentina, Australia, Canada, EU28, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, USA.

    “Rent seeking is wrong irrespective of who is doing it” … but particularly if the profits harm the community’s environment.
    This old lady remembers the joyful and bipartisan celebration of the first Earth Day. Here are today’s greedy ‘rent seekers’, the banks supporting continued fossil fuel infrastructure build. In the three years since the Paris agreement was signed, financial institutions have invested more than $478bn in the world’s top 120 coal plant developers, according to a report by the NGOs Urgewald, BankTrack and partners. Chinese banks led the underwriting of coal investments, while Japanese banks led the loans, the NGOs found.

    “The weather changes every damn day”
    Weather is not climate. From NASA … “In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area. When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages … For example, after looking at rain gauge data, lake and reservoir levels, and satellite data, scientists can tell if during a summer, an area was drier than average. If it continues to be drier than normal over the course of many summers,” (usually 30 yrs) “then it would likely indicate a change in the climate.”

    • Appeal to science. But we know that some of the data underlying the scientific conclusions is based not on measurements but on extrapolations. And many of the trend charts have been adjusted up or down to support a conclusion. “DOD is evaluating over 3500 bases around the world for potential climate risks strike a chord for you?” How many of these are actual measurements and how many are extrapolations? I’m not a scientist but I took enough science courses in high school and college to know that making adjustments or entering data points that were not actual are not part of the scientific method. What students would get Fs for is worshiped by environmentalists.

      Global sea rise. If temperatures have been rising naturally since about 1850, as the anti-experts wrote to the United Nations, we would certainly see glaciers melting and sea levels rising. Further, I’d like to see the United Nations, a bunch of well-paid people hanging on to their jobs, conduct or fund honest scientific research to test the claims made by the 500 experts challenging U.N. conclusions.

      Weather versus climate. Yes, indeed, weather is not climate. But every time we have a big storm, the Climate extremists claims global warming caused it. It can’t be both ways.

      Climate Change is the new secular religion that fights any attempt to challenge any the pro-change scientific research or peer criticism of that scientific research. And what evidence is there that the NGOs Urgewald, BankTrack and partners aren’t rent seekers themselves?

      • Where is your information on how you KNOW that facts have been manipulated? Which facts? Is there a challenge saying NASA doesn’t use actual measurements?
        Check this website.
        They call the site “Global Climate Change … FACTS” There is a nice timeline from 800,000 years ago and facts about the climate evidence that I listed among others. Stuff like “Greenland lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016.”

        AND NASA talks about their sources and rational here .,,

        DOD is not talking about extrapolations … They required all bases to return a questionaire about the specific climate effects they have seen at their base. This was an Assessment to determine climate level vulnerabilities and it will serve as a basis for future action on some bases.

        Where is a peer reviewed article about those 500(?) challenges? Have you read the IPCC’s process? It clearly rates the level of agreement for all conclusions.

        Finally, where is this fight against challenges? What I have watched is the fight against the heavily funded campaign to create doubt about the climate facts from the fossil industries. The evidence serves as the basis for the ongoing climate suits.

        The ‘create doubt’ campaign’s success has been quite stunning but now even the Chamber is backing off to a new stance.

        What will you agree can serve as the basis for determining future actions?

        • Here’s an example of a scientist who used NASA data and concluded it was altered.

          NASA doesn’t get funded to make reports that challenge climate orthodoxy. And, of course, MSM won’t talk about this. It’s inconsistent with the secular religion.

          I would expect the U.N. and NASA to openly acknowledge there are serious criticisms of their work, request outside investigation of the criticisms and invite peer review of both. I’d expect the matter would be also investigated by the Inspector General and maybe a blue ribbon panel of experts that included both defenders and critics of the “accepted” view on climate change. That would be a good start for me.

          • I have no ability to appraise the work cited in the article you link to, so I can’t say it’s right or wrong. But it does indicate one thing: The science is not “settled” and debate is vigorous and ongoing.

            It might be more correct to say that 97% of the Mainstream Media believes in “climate change,” and, in so believing, has systematically moved to silence evidence of debate and disagreement.

          • Jane Twitmyer

            Regarding the article claiming that NASA has changed their data to prove their point … I do not know, but I read that Scientists at Principia Scientific International (PSI), have published commentary claiming that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas, that it could actually cool the planet and so “the notion of a so-called ‘greenhouse gas’ warming effect may be regarded as refuted, “and “measures by governments and individuals to reduce ‘carbon emissions’ to combat climate change are, in turn, rendered pointless.”

            Let me just say I would have a hard time believing what this group prints because I also read that in 2013, PSI began to promote claims that childhood vaccines were “one of the largest most evil lies in history,” and that wind turbines make people sick.

            The manufacturers of vaccines removed the mercury they had used to keep the vaccines viable many years ago, and the whole world laughed at Trump when he repeated the ‘windmills make you sick” claim a few months back.

            Jim, No the 97% is not referring to the Mainstream Media. It is referring to the percent of climate scientists who agree about the basic theory of climate change.

          • TooManyTaxes was able to find a “scientist” that claims NASA data was altered. It’s too bad that TMT found that it originated from Principia Scientific, which has been debunked and exposed for being “an organization based in the United Kingdom which promotes fringe views and material to claim that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas”. PSI regularly publishes commentary which claims that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas and that it could actually cool the planet.”

            More from the DeSmog analysis: “Scientists at Principia Scientific International (PSI), who peer-reviewed Nahle’s paper, are currently advising colleagues that the most reliable data available now confirms that CO2 is shown to act as a coolant in earth’s climate. As such, the notion of a so-called ‘greenhouse gas’ warming effect may be regarded as refuted, while environmental measures by governments and individuals to reduce “carbon emissions” to combat climate change are, in turn, rendered pointless.”

            “In 2013, PSI also began to promote unfounded claims that wind turbines make people sick and that childhood vaccines were “one of the largest most evil lies in history.” [9]”

            So it appears that the source and the data about bad NASA data is highly questionable and quite anti-science in its claim. But it does support a certain corporate and political bias.

            If you are looking for real science to question the NASA report and consensus of real scientists on the impact of human activity on climate change, why not actually confer with climate scientists at UVA, U of Richmond, Harvard, James Madison, or Georgetown University? You can do better with real scientific research than desperate wild blogs claiming that climate warming is actually climate cooling. But if you were not a climate scientist or actually trusting the well established scientific consensus on climate change, how would you know?

            Georgetown U’s Director of its Georgetown Climate Center, Vicki Arroyo, summarized their scientific conclusions in February 2019, in supporting the scientific consensus as described in the IPCC Special Report stating that countries around the world must rapidly decarbonize their economies, cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and to near zero by 2050. The Georgetown report noted: …”the current trends are going in the wrong direction. Despite our increasing understanding of the narrowing window to act, U.S. GHG emissions increased by 3.4 percent in 2018, according to a January report from the Rhodium Group. Clearly more action is needed. The encouraging news is that many states and cities have committed to taking action. They are taking steps to reduce emissions through legislation, executive orders, and pledges made in collaborations such as the US Climate Alliance –now covering roughly half the US population and GDP.”

            But you needn’t be dissuaded by scientists and real scientific consensus. The Koch Bros. and the well funded fossil fuel industry has provided plenty of alternative facts and questionable “science” to raise doubts in established scientific research and analysis. Please continue to provide the questions about the safety and effectiveness of renewable energy technology, there should be stable solutions to those issues. But why not also take a look at the worst case scenarios from nuclear reactor accidents and melt downs that have already occurred in Chernobyl, 3-Mile Island, and Fukushima. Lets review the serious accidents and explosions with pipeline and compressor stations that average 30 accidents per year (per PHMSA) resulting in deaths, fires, property damage and toxic pollution from the volatile organic compounds that leak from natural gas infrastructure constantly. Let’s check this out in the name of assuring the safety and effectiveness of our energy generation. Thanks for the discussion.

      • I’m looking at a Twitter string this morning from some enviro types about the September temperatures….why do you think NBC has a weather story just about every day? Of course the average person can be fooled in either direction with that fallacy, and both sides shamelessly use it.

  16. I love this discussion! Which contains a great summation, here: “Larry asks … Are you willing to gamble that science is wrong about GW? Is it only all about money, and whatever happens is OK because the worst will come after you are dead and gone? WOW!” But that is precisely the problem: not enough people want to pay to act today to solve tomorrow’s economic impact. So, they will grasp at arguments, even straws, that say “it’s uncertain enough, you surely can put this painful decision off a little longer” et cetera.

    I don’t see this changing until you can go to a City Council meeting in Hampton Roads and persuade people there: either — you forbid this new planned development “Marsh’s Edge Vista” right now and forego the tax revenue from it and plan to pay for the lawsuit the developer is going to bring for the confiscation of his land value — or, commit this jurisdiction to paying for dikes and storm-sewer pumps and/or to a massive dwelling-unit buy-back and demolition program in 30 years, at an estimated cost whose present value is X times the estimated cost of blocking this development now.

    And you know what, Jane? Even if the cost of blocking that development now is nearly-certain 20x less than the cost of letting it go ahead, most City Councilmen won’t vote to block it because it’s today’s tax revenue and today’s housing versus something that a new generation of councilmen in 2050 will have to worry about.

    Most people just don’t care about the distant future, certainly not in large numbers. By ‘distant’ I mean just about anything after their own professional lives. What we need is a commonly agreed factual basis for discussion and persuasive, dedicated political leadership — and you know how scarce those commodities are, these days.

    • I understand the precautionary principle — even if we can’t know that climate change will destroy the planet, we have only one planet, and we can’t afford to screw it up, and, therefore, we are justified to spend trillions of dollars to preclude that possibility.

      But there are other precautionary principles. Electricity and the electric grid are the foundation of civilization. If the electric grid collapses, civilization collapses. We don’t know if it’s possible to operate a 100% clean grid. It’s never been done before, and there are reasons to believe that such a grid would be highly unstable and prone to collapse. Maybe that fear will prove to be unfounded. But the precautionary principle suggests that we should proceed very carefully.

      • YIKES! Turn the precautionary principal on its head!
        Let’s let precaution about climate to motivate to move forward as best that we can. Maybe we need more tech to get to 100%, but we sure enough can get to 80% according to most in the field. Let’s take the precaution to move as fast as we can to as far as we can go.

  17. Just what “factual basis” will the skin flints accept? That is the issue
    I have been trying to raise … facts from the 97% of climate scientists who agree on the facts of the problem and the science behind them? the DOD’s decision to evaluate, and prepare for, the climate safety of their bases? The facts of climate change measurements in the affected elements of our environment?
    Facts are evidently irrelevant.

  18. Jane, call me when DOD closes Langley. That is one of the more low-lying operational bases with a flight line directly on the water, also subject to the Chesapeake basin subsidence issue which is not related to any climate issues. The evaluations if underway were ordered out of political correctness and provided a large fat contract for some beltway bandit (maybe my son’s employer!), but at the end of the day my bet is 99.99 percent of the evaluations will say, no threat or here are some adaptations we recommend. And of course the bases in Alaska and Greenland will become more active, more operational! Nobody ever thinks about that other side. 🙂 Beach houses on Baffin Bay.

    When the evaluations show no major threat, expect the report to be buried and ignored.

  19. You are just plain wrong. No political correctness here. DOD has been at the climate issue since 2006 when they determined that each base needed to be energy secure. They started by tackling bases in CO where the renewable resources and the regs were friendly. Ft Carson became a demonstration project for the Army. They partnered with NREL and USACE to increase energy security through efficiency and renewable energy strategies at 9 installations. The Net Zero Energy Installations demonstrate and validate the benefits of the approach to energy security.

    Evidently you have read the right-wing C***. DOD felt it necessary to post a 1 pg “Myths and Facts about DOD Energy Initiatives”. Here is one for VA:
    Myth …“DOD’s energy efforts are a recent development”
    Fact … “Even as Pres. Obama has led on these efforts, they have spanned both the Bush and Obama Administrations and have broad bi-partisan support in Congress. … The nation’s leaders know this is about the military’s efforts to protect and defend the Nation.”

    The recent report I mentioned before has concluded the “Compound Risk” is: “Of the 70 installation assess, 57 are vulnerable to more than one climate-related hazard.” Hampton Roads tops the list.
    “Impact: One of the most vulnerable to flooding in the United States. Sea level rise, land subsidence, and changing ocean currents have resulted in more frequent nuisance flooding and increased vulnerability to coastal storms.”
    “Mitigation: Partnered with other cities and DOD on a Joint Use Land Study to identify and implement 18 recommendations, required all new development be raise significantly, and partnered with NASA to develop a base-specific flood modeling tool.

    Much of what is being done in Norfolk has been initiated with DOD. You really ought to check before you accuse …

  20. This discussion is so reminiscent of current events I can’t stand it! Jane has the facts right enough, yet Steve and I are arguing that DOD and the local politicians, respectively, are ignoring them; they are living in an alternate reality with no incentive to question their false assumptions and/or illogical conclusions because the consequences will be someone else’s problem (and there’s just enough credibility to ‘denial’ that their bosses / voters will let them get away with it). “Apres moi, le Deluge.”

    Neither side can break this impasse until we get past this current poisonous polarization of our national political dialogue, where any fact-based decision forces an ugly confrontation with reality.

  21. Acbar, I wish the problem you talk about was just an issue of the poisonous polarization of our current dialogue. I have this Masters in Media Communications, but it was 30 years ago, before we had this explosion of the internet. We did think about what future it would bring. The old media was losing its power as the gatekeepers of the news, starting with cable, and it seemed like a good thing for people to be able to challenge ‘official wisdom’. What we didn’t see was the ability of opinions based on false facts to gain such traction, for totally outrageous ‘stuff’ to become ‘mainstream’.

    I recently listened to a discussion about First Amendment rights and the problems that Facebook, UTube, etc. have removing materials that incite violence. So far they can find, and remove, many terrorists materials, but the whole process is fraught, and certainly can’t extend to judging what is actually ‘fake news’/false facts, without becoming censorship.

    In the early days of the US there was no ‘media’. Publications did not attempt to be “fair and balanced”. Different opinions were front and center. Now we just have ‘spin’, opinions that belie the facts, and no fact arbiters who are accepted by most. I am not sure where a fix for this will be, or if a fix is even possible until the generations change.

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