Category Archives: Economics

The Uncertainty Monster

Thoughts from Judith Curry on the current state of knowledge in climate. The warm mongers never consider the possibility that their proposed cures may in fact be worse than the disease. I personally think it’s nuts to consider climate a greater threat to humanity than poverty, and particularly energy poverty. But then, many of them don’t really care about humanity, or consider humanity a problem in and of itself.

[Update a few minutes later]

A new paper on the epistemological status of general circulation models.

OPEC

Here’s your feel-good story of the day: The cartel lost $76B last year due to U.S. fracking.

I’m old enough to remember when Barack Obama told us we couldn’t drill our way out of the energy crisis. Oil reserves continue to climbe every year, as they have for decades.

[Update a few minutes later]

Sort of related: Three reasons natural gas prices may be headed higher.

We just put in a soaking tub in our renovated bath, and now our 40-gallon water heater isn’t quite up to the job. I’d been thinking about putting in an instant heater in the bath, but there’s no gas line to it, and at California prices, the electric bill would be a killer. I could replace it with an instant-gas heater, but I’m starting to think maybe just get a bigger tank, given that it’s almost thirty years old.

[Update a while later]

OPEC is dead.

It’s been a feature of my life for forty-five years. It’s not quite as big a victory as ending the Cold War, but good riddance.

NASA And The GAO

The latest major project assessment is out:

Three of the largest projects in this critical stage of development—Exploration Ground Systems, Orion, and the Space Launch System—continue to face cost, schedule, and technical risks. In April 2017, we found that the first integrated test flight of these systems, known as Exploration Mission-1, will likely be delayed beyond November 2018.

NASA concurred with our findings and is currently conducting an assessment to establish a new launch date. Because NASA’s assessment is ongoing, the cost implications of the schedule delay and its effect on the projects’ baselines are still unknown. However, given that these three human space exploration programs represent more than half of NASA’s current portfolio development cost baseline, a cost increase or delay could have substantial repercussions not only for these programs but NASA’s entire portfolio.

You don’t say.

[Update mid afternoon]

Bob Zubrin isn’t happy with NASA’s current Mars plans:

During the Apollo program, the NASA’s mission-driven human spaceflight program spent money in order to do great things. Now, lacking a mission, it just does things in order to spend a great deal of money.

Why is NASA proposing a lunar-orbiting space station? The answer to that is simple. It’s to give its Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule programs something to do. The utility of such activity is not a concern. As a result, nothing useful will be accomplished.

Because Congress isn’t serious.

[Update a few minutes later]

Bob Zimmerman has some caustic thoughts on the GAO report.

[Thursday-morning update]

Bob Zimmerman isn’t happy about the cost overruns on the engine test stands. Neither am I. These aren’t the costs, they’re the overruns. On test stands for engines for a rocket we don’t need, and can’t afford to operate.

Also Ethan Siegal agrees with Bob Zubrin that a cislunar station is a waste of time and money.

[Bumped]

[Update mid-afternoon]

NASA doesn’t have any good answers as to why the test stands were being built in Alabama. We know the answer. It’s not a good one.

Climate Exaggerators

Cliff Mass on the academic wages of debunking them:

Every time I correct misinformation in the media like this, I get savaged by some “environmentalists” and media. I am accused of being a denier, a skeptic, an instrument of the oil companies, and stuff I could not repeat in this family friendly blog. Sometimes it is really hurtful. Charles Mudede of the Stranger is one of worst of the crowd, calling me “dangerous” and out of my mind (see example below).

A postdoc at the UW testified at the Environment Committee of the Washington State House saying that I was a contrarian voice. I spoke to her in person a few days later and asked where my science was wrong–she could not name one thing. But she told me that my truth telling was “aiding” the deniers. We agreed to disagree.

My efforts do not go unnoticed at the UW, with my department chairman and leadership in the UW Climate Impacts Group telling me of “concerns” with my complaints about hyped stories on oyster deaths and snowpack. One UW professor told me that although what I was saying was true, I needed to keep quiet because I was helping “the skeptics.” Probably not good for my UW career.

I believe scientists must provide society with the straight truth, without hype or exaggeration, and that we must correct false or misleading information in the media. It is not our role to provide inaccurate information so that society will “do the right thing.” History is full of tragic examples of deceiving the public to promote the “right thing”–such as weapons of mass destruction claims and the Iraq War.

Global warming forced by increasing greenhouse gases is an extraordinarily serious challenge to our species that will require both mitigation (reducing emissions) and adaptation (preparing ourselves to deal with the inevitable changes). Society can only make the proper decisions if they have scientists’ best projections of what will happen in the future, including the uncertainties.

What a concept.