3000 Quads - the Road to Oz

I love books. A long time ago, I decided I would read any book I was given for free. My hope was this would ensure I'd expose myself to new ideas and experiences, even if they were ones I'd normally avoid. Also, I hoped it would cut down on how much I'd have to spend.

But today I'm going to talk about a book I actually bought myself. The book The Lukewarmer's Way, by Thomas Fuller, offends me. I doubt I'll even finish reading it. I was only interested in the book because the author had a guest post over at The Blackboard which included a list of "reasons why I am not skeptical of human-caused climate change" from the author. On that list was the item:

8. Growth in energy consumption is skyrocketing with the development of Asia and Africa. My projections show that we may use six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010.

I found the idea someone would try to estimate energy consumption levels 60 years out remarkable, but I didn't want to spend time on yet another book, but I didn't want to spend time on yet another book, so I ignored it at first. Then a user quoted it and said:

Brandon would eat you for breakfast here. How many variables did you have to freeze to make this assumption.

I'd like to think the flattery didn't affect what happened next. I was already curious about the projections, so naturally, I talked about the issue for a bit. Nobody seemed to have any useful insight, and that seemed to be that. I certainly didn't plan to spend money to buy a book that might not even provide any useful information.

But a few days later, I happened to notice I had a bit of leftover credit from an Amazon gift card. It was just sitting there, and I was still extremely curious how anyone could estimate how much energy humans would use 60 years from now, so I gave in. I never could have guessed what I'd find.

Don't worry. This isn't going to be one of my lengthy, rambly stream of thought book reviews. I'm not going to review this book at all. Some people seem to like it, and good for them. I think the book has all sorts of problems, but I'm not worried about them. All I want to look at is what the book says is Thomas Fuller's methodology for estimating we may use six times as much energy in 2075 as we use now. The book's first reference to this comes early in a list like the one at The Blackboard:

7. Growth in energy consumption is skyrocketing with the development of Asia and Africa. My projections show that we may use six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010.

There's no explanation of how he obtains this number, but it's in the introduction, so that's hardly surprising. What is surprising is how his phrasing shifts when he revisits this point a short while later:

I still believe that temperatures will climb this century, mostly as a result of the brute force effect of the 3,000 quads of energy we will burn every year starting in 2075—as I explain elsewhere.

A quad is a unit of energy roughly equivalent to that you'd get from eight billion gallons of gasoline. Humans produced 500 of them in 2010. Fuller's claim here that we will burn 3,000 of them every year beginning in 2075 is a drastic change from his previous claim which said "we may use six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010" (500 * 6 = 3000). I didn't take issue with the earlier claim, saying:

Hey now, I have no problem believing we may use six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010. I also have no problem believing we may see a global nuclear war which devastates the world’s population to such an extent 2075’s energy consumption is half that of 2010’s.

But it is absolutely absurd to think we could know, with certainty, how much energy humans will use in 2075. I'd like to think this was just a careless slip of the tongue, but later in the book Fuller says:

As it happens, I think China will persuade itself to go for a lower intensity lifestyle and the global total will be around 3,000 quads by 2075. But if I’m erring, I’m erring on the low side.

So Fuller isn't saying humans may use six times as much energy in 2075 as they do now. He's saying humans will use six times as much energy in 2075, and they might even use more. There's no doubt or uncertainty. There's no range of possible values. There's no alternative scenarios. It's just 3,000 quads or greater. He's so sure of it he has a website titled 3000 Quads (http://3000quads.com/), with the tagline:

Humans will use 3,000 Quads by 2075. If they all come from coal we’re ruined.

And what is all this based on? One sentence. I kid you not. There is no math. There is no data. There are no facts. There is just this:

The DOE and UN predict consumption of around 820 quads in 2040. Population will be about 8.1 billion. Millennium Goals for development and normal economic advancement indicate that taking a straight line for consumption is not absurd. This leads to a ‘latent’ demand for energy of about 1,000 quads , or almost 3 times what the world is using today. However, straight line extension of consumption trends gets you to about 1,000 quads in 2035, and about 3,000 in 2075.

Straight line extension of consumption trends gets you about 3,000 quads in 2075. That's it. The grand sum of Fuller's entire 2075 projections is... a linear extrapolation of consumption trends.

What years did he use to determine the straight line he uses to extend the trend? He doesn't say. Why should one use this method of extrapolation as opposed to any other? He doesn't say. Why should anyone believe this method of extrapolation has any credibility? He doesn't say. Oh wait, he does say something for that one. For that one, he explains, "taking a straight line for consumption is not absurd."

I believe calling a methodology "not absurd" is a perfect example of damning with faint praise. I don't think anyone should believe humans will use six times as much energy in 2075 as they do now based on a methodology that can't even be described as "kind of reasonable." And yet, that's all Fuller has.

But shockingly, it gets worse. Let's take a look at the numbers. Later in his book, Fuller goes into some detail about his projectsion for 2030 and 2040, estimating humans will use 913 quads in 2030 and 965 quads in 2040. I've plotted those values along with the world's energy consumption from 1980-2012, as well as Fuller's projected value for 2075:

10_6_projections1

The projected value for 2075 is clearly not on the same path as the other projections. That might seem absurd. After all, any linear extrapolation should produce linear results (save for any non-linearity introduced by population growth). You might get a huge slope, but there should still be a linear relationship between current values, the values for 2035 and the values for 2075. After all, Fuller said:

straight line extension of consumption trends gets you to about 1,000 quads in 2035, and about 3,000 in 2075.

So how does this happen? The book doesn't offer any explanation. Fortunately, the internet does. It turns out there are a couple key problems to Fuller's projections. To see them, let's look at that previous quotation in a bit more context:

This leads to a ‘latent’ demand for energy of about 1,000 quads , or almost 3 times what the world is using today. However, straight line extension of consumption trends gets you to about 1,000 quads in 2035, and about 3,000 in 2075.

That "latent" demand for energy Fuller refers to is the demand caused by people in lesser developed parts of the world who would wish to have better lives. According to him, we should add that latent demand into our energy consumption projections. Why? He doesn't say. He doesn't offer any reason to think the entire world will become as developed as the United States by 2075.

But what about 2035? He obviously didn't add the latent demand to his energy consumption projections there. He gives the latent demand as 1,000, the same amount as his total energy consumption for 2035. How does that work? Why should we add the latent demand to 2075's projected consumption but not 2035? Are we supposed to believe every person in the world will use as much energy as the average American in 2075, but not in 2035?

It would be troubling enough if that's all this was. If Fuller simply didn't say why he added the latent demand to one projection but not the other, that would be bad. The fact he didn't even disclose that's what he did is really bad. But still, it's only really bad. It's not completely and utterly reprehensible. It's not outright lying. The lying only begins when you realize this entire section is lifted near verbatim from previous writing of Fuller's, where he said:

straight line extension of consumption trends gets you to about 2,100 quads in 2035, and about 3,000 in 2075.

Take a look at that projection for 2035: 2,100 quads. Paragraph after paragraph was taken straight from that post, but when it comes to this sentence, Fuller changes it from saying humans will use 2,100 quads in 2035 to saying:

straight line extension of consumption trends gets you to about 1,000 quads in 2035, and about 3,000 in 2075.

Fuller portrays it as being the exact same methodolgy, yet he gets a radically different answer now. But the answer only changes for his 2035 projection. The 2035 projection drops to less than half his previous estimate, but his 2075 projection remains unchanged.

Why? Fuller doesn't say. We can perhaps take a guess though. Fuller was well aware his his projected values were incredibly high. For instance, two years before writing the blog post I quoted, he said:

I should lay out my assumptions regarding my fantastickal claim that we might need 2088 quads of primary energy supply around 2035.

Calling it a "fantastickal claim" may be an understatement. Fuller was claiming humans would consume four times as much energy in 2035 as they did in 2010. The idea humans would increase the amount of energy they use four times over in only 25 years is utterly absurd.

Fuller's only basis for this idea was to just assume the entire world would become as developed as the United States, with everyone consuming as much energy as the average American. That's obviously not going to happen by 2035, and for his book, he's now dropped the idea it would. That's why he only projects humans will use 913 quads as of 2030 and 965 as of 2040. But he's still sticking with the idea the whole world will reach that high level of development for 2075. That's why he projects humans will use 3000 quads as of 2075.

When you actually lay it out, the case for Fuller's position sounds horribly weak. That makes much of what he says ring hollow. His website, whose very name is based upon this, just seems like a charade. Even worse, however, are his statements like:

Because I spent a year of my life demonstrating that it is quite likely that we will be using six times as much energy in 2075 as we do today, I am very much prepared to believe that we can and probably will change the weather— in part from our increased CO 2 emissions, in part from the changes in land use that accompany the growth and development of human population.

This was taken from his book. According to Fuller, he has "speant a year of [his] life demonstrating it is quite likely" humans will use 3000 quads by 2075. Only, he hasn't. The entire basis for the idea we will is that all humans in all parts of the world will reach the same level of development where they all use the same high amounts of energy as people of the United States currently do. He's never done anything to show that's likely to happen. Nobody has.

It's like Fuller is living in a fantasy world where he can just assume whatever he wants. And that's fine. I wouldn't be bothered by that. I picked the title of this post to suggest Fuller is projecting a fantasy world that isn't real, but so what? Unrealistic projections are commonplace. They don't bother me. What bothers me is Fuller has the audacity to say things like:

Brandon, you might check out the thread referenced in the post by Brigitte. Lucia talked through the various permutations of warming/sensitivity/impacts and has created ‘buckets’ for different positions.

My position is that even with low sensitivity, the amount of emissions I expect is so high that impacts will be notable. Much of the last third of my book is devoted to showing that energy consumption in 2075 will be six times that of 2010 and that published plans for the buildout of renewable energy sources will not put much of a dent in fossil fuel consumption.

I have no explanation for this sort of behavior. The last third of Fuller's book doesn't do a thing to support the idea humans will use 3000 quads by 2075. If anything, it weakens Fuller's case. Remember, Fuller's methodology said:

straight line extension of consumption trends gets you to about 2,100 quads in 2035, and about 3,000 in 2075.

Now, he changed the listed value for 2035 without explanation or notification. That's incredibly wrong. It also calls into question the ability of his methodology to get other values correct. If his methodology can't accurately project values 20 years out, why would anyone believe it can accurately project values 60 years out?

With that in mind, let's look at the last third of his book. Part 3 is titled:

Part 3: Why I Am Not a Skeptic: 3000 Quads

You would think with "3000 Quads" being in the title the section would be about 3000 quads, the year 2075 or things like that, but you'd be wrong. It begins by focusing on projections for 2030, explaining how Fuller got his projected values in this table (his are those on the far right):

10_6_projections2

After spending some time on the details of how he arrived at his values in the table, Fuller then goes on to discuss projections for 2040. He then has one page conclusion, an Appendix and the book ends. That's it. There's no discussion of the year 2075. There's no discussion of 3000 quads. There's no explanation of how Fuller estimates humans will use six times as much energy in 2075 as they do now. Not a thing. Fuller's comment saying much of the last third of his book is devoted to this topic is completely and utterly divorced from reality.

I mean that. It's not just wrong. The last third of Fuller's book doesn't just not attempt to show "energy consumption in 2075 will be six times that of 2010." It shows that idea is likely false. The last third of Fuller's book has a lot of discussion about how Fuller thinks humans will use 913 quads in 2030 and 965 quads in 2040. Those values are a fraction of the 2088 quads he claimed his methodology showed we would need in 2035.

Fuller's methodology gave him "fantastickal" projections nothing like anything anyone else believed might be true. When he then started doing more work on the subject, he found his results contradicted his "fantastickal" projections. He should have taken that as a sign to scrap the methodology. Instead, he covered up the contradictory values by simply replacing errant results so he could keep his "fantastickal" projections for the future.

I'm sure there's plenty more which could be said about this book, but I don't plan to even read the rest of it. At the start of this post I mentioned I'll read any book people give to me. Fortunately, I bought this one. I may have wasted some of my money, but at least I don't have to waste any more time on it.


10/7/2015 5AM Update: I believe people deserve the right to defend themselves. I also believe in enjoying when people make fools of themselves. Here is Thomas Fuller, author of this book, responding to my criticisms. I'll let readers decide which he did:

10_7_fuller1

17 comments

  1. Hi Brandon

    A variety of estimates of energy consumption have been made for the ipcc and various govts also make estimates including the British govt. Lord Stern was tasked with this in order to produce his lengthy report that gained such publicity a few years back.

    Here is one report that seems to pull this information together for some 56 countries that will use the lions share of energy.

    http://www.usaee.org/usaee2013/submissions/OnlineProceedings/wp_projection.pdf

    See figure three. I have no idea how many quads this estimate equates to.

    Btw, as an aside, did you see that the complaint by Peter wadhams regarding being misreported over the
    Possible killing of arctic scientists was turned down by the uk press complaints commission?

    Tonyb

  2. Brandon -

    Seriously, if you believe climate sensitivity is most likely over 3 degrees, the book labels you an alarmist. How ridiculous is that? It would have been easy to use a more neutral term like “Warmist” or something, but instead, Fuller went with an insulting label. According to his book, you’re either a skeptic, a lukewarmer, or a bad person. I think that’s pretty ridiculous, and I wouldn’t even fit his classification of an “alarmist.”

    kudos.

    BTW, I found this particularly amusing - from the book's blurb - perhaps you will as well:

    Presenting reasoned arguments and dispassionate data, Fuller suggests heated rhetoric be set aside so a rational way forward can be found.

  3. Tonyb, thanks for that link. I'm intrigued by the idea of people doing energy consumption projections 50+ years out, so that looks interesting. I'll have to spend some time reading it before I can comment on it though. One thing I will say is it seems more credible because it only looks at 56 countries, not the entire planet. I'll see if I can't give more feedback soon. If nothing elsr, maybe I can convert their units into quads or vice versa.

    As for Wadhams's complaint, I did see that. Unfortunately, no details on the reasoning for the judgment were made available, so it isn't very informative. I don't think institutions should automatically be trusted to get rulings like these right, and in this case, there is good reason to doubt the institution. The IPSO is not a body one can reasonably ask people to simply put their faith in.

    I've discussed the topic in more detail at Bishop Hill when this was announced there, and I can repeat my view if people are interested. What I found most interesting, however, is the IPSO's judgment states the newspaper acknowledged the journalist assured Wadhams he would be contacted before running any story, and that did not happen. That is the pretty much the only new information the ruling provided. Everything else was just, "The IPSO concludes X."

    I thought it was interesting the only real information we gained was the journalist made a promise to Wadhams then broke it. I wish a transcript of the (on the record portion of the) interview had been made available so we could have learned more.

  4. Joshua, have you seen Thomas Fuller's recent comments at The Blackboard? They're quite remarkable, especially in light of that blurb.

    I mean, he does acknowledge he fails to live up to the ideals he says people should strive for (I think that was in the introduction of the book?), but still, it's clear he doesn't even try to have meaningful discussions at times. My favorite part is how he said it is lying to make a mistake then acknowledge that mistake.

    Seriously. According to Thomas Fuller, if you make a mistake then later acknowledge you were wrong, you're a liar.

  5. What was the level of energy use in 1945, 65 years prior to 2010?

    I don't think Fuller is being ridiculous in his assumptions, as I have read that IPCC used similar assumptions in SRES, giving higher growth rates to the developing world than the US in the 18th and 19th centuries.
    On top of that, the growth in Chinese emissions 10-15 years ago was completely unanticipated.
    I was working with climate models in 2003, and they estimated China become the leading emitter in about 2020-2040, maybe 2016 if you were aggressive, and this was with US emission cuts. They missed something that was happening in 3 years, by at least 10 years.
    After the fact, it makes sense if you look at the emissions chart, CHina had a much slower growth before exploding.

  6. MikeN:

    What was the level of energy use in 1945, 65 years prior to 2010?

    No clue offhand. Most of the datasets I've looked at start in 1980 due to data availability. I imagine people have come up with estimates for periods before then, but I don't know what they are offhand.

    I don’t think Fuller is being ridiculous in his assumptions, as I have read that IPCC used similar assumptions in SRES, giving higher growth rates to the developing world than the US in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Fuller isn't assuming different growth rates between countries. He's assuming each country reaches the same level of development as every other country and then they all keep progressing at the exact same rate. And by his words, he's assuming this happens by 2035, which is all sorts of ludicrous. Which is why his methodology said humans would use 2,100 quads by 2035, meaning we'd use four times as much energy as we do now in only twenty years.

    Of course, he secretly changed that number from 2,100 to ~1,000 without any explanation so now readers of his book won't have that obvious hint as to how outlandish his methodology is.

  7. Brandon -

    ==> "Joshua, have you seen Thomas Fuller’s recent comments at The Blackboard? "

    That's an interesting thread in a number of respects, but IMO, Thomas' comments are not particularly interesting in that they are very typical of his level of engagement that I've seen many times in the past.

    Not that you likely care about reading my opinions in any depth...

    ...but one of the ways that I find it interesting is that I have to say that some of the criticisms directed you way, while delivered in a juvenile and unintentionally ironic manner, do have a ring of truth, IMO, regarding a description of a problematic manner in how you engage in discussion. That's something that you and I have discussed before, and I know that you think my perspective on that is quite wrong, of course, but it's always interesting to me when I read "skeptics"* making arguments that I agree with somewhat.

    Another way that I find it interesting is that as you often do, you made some good points that were quite obviously correct, yet from my quick perusal not one "skeptic"* was willing to step up and get your back. I find it interesting to think about why that occurred. I didn't see anyone call out Thomas for first, obviously ignoring, and then obviously dissembling, around the substance of the points you raised before laughably justifying his lack of response in the form if an attack against you. In fact, while you didn't seem to take it that way, it seemed to me that the participants in the thread, including Lucia, more or less threw you under the bus.

    Another way that I found it interesting is that you continue, IMO, to be a bit of an outlier in the "climate-o-sphere," as while many of your views seem to fit squarely into the "skeptic"* camp, you are at least sometimes quite willing to be critical of other "skeptics"* when they make obviously bad arguments or engage in polemics. I've seen you do it many times...with Willis, and Tol, and Watts and others - even McIntryre which is particularly notable as he generally engenders an almost messianic form of loyalty. IMO, your engagement is unusual in that it isn't exactly aligned in the way a huge % of the "climate-o-spheric" engagement plays out. While almost all of the engagement is predominated by a blind justification by participants for identity protective cognition, motivated reasoning, cultural cognition, bad arguments, etc. from within their own group, you tend to not so easily be categorized within the dominant group taxonomy, IMO. My view is that your own blind spots are more in looking at your own "group of one," whereas for most people their blind spots extend out to a larger group with whom people identify. Perhaps that is because you don't readily identify with groups as strongly as most participants (obviously, purely speculative on my part)...

    Anyway, like I said, I suppose that you agree with quite a bit of that, and don't particularly care about my perspective, but I just felt like sharing. 🙂

    * By "skeptic," here, I basically mean what I call SWIRLCARE (Someone Who Is Relatively Less Concerned About Recent Emissions)... I don't distinguish between "skeptic" and "lukewarmer" in the way that many people do, because I think that the terms are so vague from any kind of technical reference point, and subjectively used in a self-sealing manner... I mean "skeptic" only in the sense of distinguishing from a SWIRMCARE (Someone Who Is Relatively More Concerned About Recent Emissions).

  8. Joshua:

    That’s an interesting thread in a number of respects, but IMO, Thomas’ comments are not particularly interesting in that they are very typical of his level of engagement that I’ve seen many times in the past.

    That's fair. I've almost never been involved in discussions with him. I guess we're probably active on different sites. If he does behaves like that on a regular basis, I suppose it wouldn't be interesting to see it for the umpteenth time.

    …but one of the ways that I find it interesting is that I have to say that some of the criticisms directed you way, while delivered in a juvenile and unintentionally ironic manner, do have a ring of truth, IMO, regarding a description of a problematic manner in how you engage in discussion. That’s something that you and I have discussed before, and I know that you think my perspective on that is quite wrong, of course, but it’s always interesting to me when I read “skeptics”* making arguments that I agree with somewhat.

    Just to elaborate on your description, the issue usually isn't that I think your "perspective on that is quite wrong." It's that I think you misrepresent what I say, often in trivially obvious ways, to try to justify your perspective.

    I didn’t see anyone call out Thomas for first, obviously ignoring, and then obviously dissembling, around the substance of the points you raised before laughably justifying his lack of response in the form if an attack against you. In fact, while you didn’t seem to take it that way, it seemed to me that the participants in the thread, including Lucia, more or less threw you under the bus.

    Oh, believe me, I definitely took it that way. I just don't make a point of calling people out every time they do stuff like this. There's only so much time in a day. Besides, if I said everything I thought, I'd probably be banned from everywhere.

    Perhaps that is because you don’t readily identify with groups as strongly as most participants (obviously, purely speculative on my part)…

    On occasion when I am praised for not being tribalistic or otherwise group-centric, I do try to warn people it's not to my credit if the only reason is I'm not part of those groups. There's always the question of if a person fell out of favor with a group because he criticizes it or if he criticizes the group because he fell out of favor with it.

    * By “skeptic,” here, I basically mean what I call SWIRLCARE (Someone Who Is Relatively Less Concerned About Recent Emissions)… I don’t distinguish between “skeptic” and “lukewarmer” in the way that many people do, because I think that the terms are so vague from any kind of technical reference point, and subjectively used in a self-sealing manner… I mean “skeptic” only in the sense of distinguishing from a SWIRMCARE (Someone Who Is Relatively More Concerned About Recent Emissions).

    Oddly enough, I've never really cared about global warming. I started paying attention to the field because the hockey stick debate seemed so outlandish to me. I was in high school at the time, and I was able to understand the scientific arguments perfectly well because they were simple, and it was clear the work was garbage. There weren't even disputes over points of fact. Both sides agreed on the facts; they just disagreed on the spin. Which is to say, scientists tried to spin the facts they acknowledged to avoid admitting Michael Mann's work was garbage, and they have continued to do so for a decade since.

    I've never really progressed beyond that stage. High school me saw climate scientists doing a worse job than I could have done. To this day, I still see it. If global warming is as big a problem as many people believe, they're doing the worst job imaginable of conveying its importance. To me, that says scientists as a whole aren't taking the message (that we need to take drastic actions) seriously. And if they aren't, I'm not going to either.

    If I thought global warming were a serious problem, the first thing I do is tell everybody Michael Mann's work was garbage, it shouldn't have been heavily promoted by the IPCC, and it shouldn't have been defended and supported for the last decade. I'd then talk about a few other "rotten apples" and say we need to be willing to call out bad behavior and scrap bad work so we can move on and focus on the vast majority of work which is done by good people who are doing good work. But that won't happen anymore than Skeptics will call out people like Richard Tol. And that tells me this isn't a cause being driven by some pure, idealistic hope for bettering humanity. It's a cause filled with petty partisan nonsense. Maybe there's some real cause underneath it all, but until they find it, I'm not going to look for it.

    Anyway, I should shut up before I get ranty. One last thought though. You probably won't hear this from many people, but if you sincerely believe global warming is a major problem, the number one action you should be asking people and governments to take is to take responsibility out of the hands of the people currently managing things. For instance, if global warming is really a threat to humanity, we shouldn't have to rely upon temperature datasets managed by ad hoc groups who just stumbled into the responsibility because someone at their university happened to be interested in a subject upon a time. We should have groups or organizations created for the specific purpose of collecting and managing the data.

    Imagine if climate scientists were to tell the world they believe global warming is a serious threat, one they didn't feel they were adequately equipped to prepare the world for. Imagine if they said global warming is too serious a threat to leave in the hands of scientists doing voluntary research on whatever topics they were interested in, but instead, a well-funded and well-organized systematic examination of the threat was needed. I would support that in an instant.

  9. Alright, so I got a chance to spend some time reading that paper Tonyb. I'm not really impressed by its projections. It's relatively simple modeling, and there's really no reason to expect it to be accurate up to 2075. I could list any number of reasons its numbers might wind up being way off. It doesn't seem like a bad effort though. There's just no good way to do projections that far out.

    The main thing of interest is how its numbers compare to that of Thomas Fuller's. For that, we need to know the conversion rate. It turns out one quad is equivalent to roughly 25,220,000 "tonnes of oil equivalent," the unit of energy used in that paper. The paper uses millions of tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE), meaning we should be able to convert its numbers to quads by dividing them by ~25.22.

    When we apply that conversion factor, we find the paper gives an estimate of ~457 quads for 2015 across all its model runs. 2070 has values ranging from 600-640. As you can see, that's nowhere near as high as Fuller projects. The main reason is that paper projects energy consumption to increase (at most) in a logarithmic manner while Fuller projects it to increase in what's more like an exponential manner.

    Personally, I think the former is more likely than Fuller's idea humans will use more than four times as much energy by 2035 than they do now, which is one of the results his methodology gives. Even if you just erase that result and replace it with a different one like he did for his book, I still think this paper's assumptions are more plausible. The idea we'll approximately double our total energy consumption by 2040 and reach 965 quads might be (remotely) plausible, but to then triple our consumption from that point in 35 years (to 3000 quads) is just ludicrous.

  10. Brandon -

    ==> "..If he does behaves like that on a regular basis, I suppose it wouldn’t be interesting to see it for the umpteenth time."

    I'd say that the type of rhetorical strategy revealed in his whole "you lied, you said you hate me, why would I engage with someone who hates me?" (paraphrasing) gambit has been what I've experienced more or less uniformly from the first time he and I exchanged blog comments.

    ==> "Just to elaborate on your description, the issue usually isn’t that I think your “perspective on that is quite wrong.” It’s that I think you misrepresent what I say, often in trivially obvious ways, to try to justify your perspective."

    What's interesting, although not at all surprising there is that what you wrote is a pretty good description of my take on exchanging views with you. I think that what you've described is, more or less, the crux of the matter. That's the type of shared view that takes place often when people have not established trust, shared goals, shared definitions, shared ownership over outcomes, when exchanging views in a polarized context. It's what happens when people defend positions rather than exploring for synergistic interests.

    ==> "There’s always the question of if a person fell out of favor with a group because he criticizes it or if he criticizes the group because he fell out of favor with it."

    It has been interesting to me to watch, what seems to me, you fall out of favor with "skeptics" (once again, using the definition of the term I described above) - essentially because you've been quite willing to be highly critical of certain iconic figures. What makes it all that more interesting is that doesn't diminish my view of how you often exacerbate poor-faith exchange. It puts me in a funny position, as while it seems clear to me that you're being treated unreasonably in one sense, in another sense I think that you're being treated in ways that you bring on to yourself.

    ==> " For instance, if global warming is really a threat to humanity, we shouldn’t have to rely upon temperature datasets managed by ad hoc groups who just stumbled into the responsibility because someone at their university happened to be interested in a subject upon a time. We should have groups or organizations created for the specific purpose of collecting and managing the data."

    Honestly, that comment seems to me to be more inspired by your personal, shared antagonisms with Mosher than a clear-eyed view of what will have a differential impact on policy outcomes. IMO, the causal mechanisms behind how the public views climate change, and how related policies are or aren't implemented, is far too complicated to be meaningfully altered by the variable you're pointing to.

    Even with your hypothetical counterfactual speculation at the end of that post, which enlarges the more discrete factor in your earlier statement, while I have no reason to doubt what you say about how you'd respond, I think that the impact would be negligible on the public more generally.

  11. Brandon

    interesting to see your conversion to quads. It seems much lower than that from Thomas. I can't see developed countries increasing their energy consumption or output very much over current levels, as efficiencies and a general unwillingness to produce plenty of cheap power will be foremost.

    I guess the projection from Thomas might be a linear extrapolation of the burgeoning demand from such as China and India and the global population will increase by several billion or more up to 2070.

  12. tonyb, his results come pretty much entirely from his assumption the entire world will start consuming energy at rates like the United States. If you assume that and then assume a linear growth in demand for energy, you get exorbitantly high energy consumption rates.

    The problem is Fuller has done nothing to show those assumptions are plausible. They're not.

  13. Alright, now that I'm on my computer I can actually type more. Joshua:

    What’s interesting, although not at all surprising there is that what you wrote is a pretty good description of my take on exchanging views with you.

    Fortunately, when two people accuse each other of doing the exact same thing, it's usually pretty easy to judge whose accusations are more accurate.

    I think that what you’ve described is, more or less, the crux of the matter. That’s the type of shared view that takes place often when people have not established trust, shared goals, shared definitions, shared ownership over outcomes, when exchanging views in a polarized context. It’s what happens when people defend positions rather than exploring for synergistic interests.

    It is also what happens when people intentionally behave in ways designed not to lead to fruitful discussions, something it appears you do on a regular basis. I would suggest that is the greater problem between us. You of course may disagree. Before you say anything, however, I'd suggest you consider the multitude of comments you've posted in response to things I've said in the past. It'd be interesting to see if you realize why many people might label many of them as nothing more than trolling.

    It has been interesting to me to watch, what seems to me, you fall out of favor with “skeptics” (once again, using the definition of the term I described above) – essentially because you’ve been quite willing to be highly critical of certain iconic figures. What makes it all that more interesting is that doesn’t diminish my view of how you often exacerbate poor-faith exchange. It puts me in a funny position, as while it seems clear to me that you’re being treated unreasonably in one sense, in another sense I think that you’re being treated in ways that you bring on to yourself.

    I have no doubt I encourage the types of reactions I get. I know I could change how I act and get different reactions. I'm not going to though. The fact people react a certain way to things does not mean their reaction is appropriate. If people believe what I say or do is wrong, they're welcome to explain why they think so. I'm happy to consider it, and I'm willing to take steps to correct my mistakes.

    But I've had a long history of people, including you, claiming I've done wrong when I haven't. It's to the extent I've seen the same criticisms from both "sides" of various debates, depending solely on which topic I am discussing. I've even had cases where one person praised me for something I wrote while another criticized it; then later, they switched roles when I wrote on a different topic, with the criticisms remaining the same.

    I once saw a video where a guy talked about how he watched Bill Maher tear into some group of people he disliked. He talked about how he enjoyed it and liked Maher's style. The reason he brought this up was he was a staunch conservative, and he normally hated Maher. His video was about how he realized all the stylistic things Maher does that he hates and criticizes Maher for were things he would happily embrace if he agreed with what Maher said. I thought it was interesting.

    Honestly, that comment seems to me to be more inspired by your personal, shared antagonisms with Mosher than a clear-eyed view of what will have a differential impact on policy outcomes. IMO, the causal mechanisms behind how the public views climate change, and how related policies are or aren’t implemented, is far too complicated to be meaningfully altered by the variable you’re pointing to.

    You have no idea what you're talking about. For instance, there is no "shared antagonisms with Mosher." I don't care about Steven Mosher. If not for the fact he is effectively BEST's public spokesperson on the blogosphere, I doubt I would say a thing about or to him. He may feel antagonistic toward me, but the feeling is not mutual.

    More importantly, however, is my views of what matters on global warming have nothing to do with him. I don't even think the surface temperature record is a very important issue (unless/until we can greatly improve regional level results). The only reason I picked that example is the surface temperature record is a topic so many people focus on so it's easy to talk about. If I were actually going to try to implement the idea I mentioned, I would focus on any of a dozen other issues first.

    Even with your hypothetical counterfactual speculation at the end of that post, which enlarges the more discrete factor in your earlier statement, while I have no reason to doubt what you say about how you’d respond, I think that the impact would be negligible on the public more generally.

    I suspect part of the reason you think this is I haven't really conveyed the depth of what I have in mind. It would take quite a bit of space to write it all out. I've considered writing a post about it before. Maybe I should. Even if I don't though, the thing to consider is one of the common themes in criticisms of climate scientists is they don't behave like scientists should. It's difficult to trust people's proclamations on scientific matters if they don't behave in a scientific manner. Combine that with the perception of global warming being a great source of funding for scientists, and you have a great recipe for distrust. The idea I have in mind would go a long way in dispelling that.

  14. ==> "Fortunately, when two people accuse each other of doing the exact same thing, it’s usually pretty easy to judge whose accusations are more accurate."

    Once again, your habit of confusing fact with opinion arises.

    ==> "For instance, there is no “shared antagonisms with Mosher.”

    You certainly have given me an impression of otherwise - and I would be willing to bet that a large % of "climate-o-sphere" readers would say the same. So put that together with your statement I excerpted above

    ==> "More importantly, however, is my views of what matters on global warming have nothing to do with hi

    Apparently you misunderstood what I said to conclude that I was suggesting that was the case. I wasn't.

    Anyway, have a good day, Brandon. I see no point in exchanging on these issues further.

  15. See Joshua, this is why we can be certain to never progress. When it comes to backing up things you say, you fall way short. You just don't approach disagreements in a healthy manner. I'm sure you'd probably disagree with that assessment, but I'm also sure you'd probably say your behavior at lucia's place recently was anything other than ridiculous.

    So for funsies, I'm going to call you out on it. One of the few rules on this site is whenever a person makes a factual statement, they must be willing to back it up when challenged. If they cannot or will not, they must acknowledge so. This is a rule anyone can apply, and I'm applying it to this statement of yours:

    Once again, your habit of confusing fact with opinion arises.

    I won't challenge your claim that I have such a habit. I dispute it, but I don't care to argue the point here. I will, however, challenge your claim I've done what you describe here.

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