Guest Contribution: “How Solar Energy Became Cheap”

Today, we’re fortunate to present a guest contribution written by Greg Nemet, Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Nelson Institute’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. He has also been a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Global Energy Assessment

 


I have a book coming out on June 10, “How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation.”  I’ve summarized the findings at howsolargotcheap.com and it’s available on Amazon.

When I began working on solar energy in 2002, the technology was seen as an intriguing novelty, serving a niche, but widely dismissed as a serious answer to social problems associated with energy use. Since then solar photovoltaics (PV) has become a substantial global industry—a truly disruptive technology that has generated trade disputes among superpowers, threatened the solvency of large energy companies, and prompted serious reconsideration of electric utility regulation rooted in the 1930s. More favorably, its continually falling costs and rapid adoption are improving air quality and facilitating climate change mitigation. PV provides some of the lowest cost electricity in the world and prices in 2019 are now below where even the most optimistic experts expected they would be in 2030.  The costs of solar PV modules have fallen by more than a factor of 10,000 since they were first commercialized in 1957 and in sunny places solar electricity is now cheaper than any other form of electricity.  It may be the cheapest way that humans have ever been able to produce electricity at scale.

My motivation for spending the time researching this book was that despite years of work looking at solar costs, we still don’t have a dispositive answer to the question behind the book’s title.  The quantitative work has helped identify factors such as economies of scale and learning by doing.  However, I developed the impression that these analyses were omitting important variables—such as international flows of knowledge.  The concept of National Innovation Systems provides a theoretical structure for this assessment and emphasizes that we should expect distinct national contributions to emerge from this international system, rather than thinking of it as a homogenous global knowledge stock.  The plan was to take a mixed methods approach, complementing data collection with expert knowledge, which led me to conduct interviews with 75 people in 18 countries.  I anticipate that causal factors revealed in interviews are good future candidates to be operationalized into quantitative variables, and that can be enabled through the proliferation of quality international data and creative approaches to econometric identification.

PV’s evolution can be summarized as the result of distinct contributions by the US, Japan, Germany, Australia, and China—in that sequence.   PV improved as the result of:

  1. Scientific contributions in the 1800s and early 1900s, in Europe and the US, that provided a fundamental understanding of the ways that light interacts with molecular structures;
  2. A breakthrough at a corporate laboratory in the US in 1954 that made a commercially available PV device;
  3. A major government R&D and public procurement effort in the 1970s in the US;
  4. Japanese electronic conglomerates serving niche markets in the 1980s and in 1994 launching the world’s first major rooftop subsidy program, with a declining rebate schedule;
  5. Germany passing a feed-in tariff in 2000 that quadrupled the market for PV and developing production equipment that automated and scaled PV manufacturing;
  6. Chinese entrepreneurs, almost all trained in Australia, building factories of gigawatt scale in the 2000s and creating the world’s largest market for PV from 2013 onward; and
  7. A cohort of adopters with high willingness to pay, accessing information from neighbors, and installer firms that learned from their installation experience, as well as that of their competitors to lower soft costs.

Solar PV is exciting not just because of the massive solar resource available and low prices, but because of how far solar has come.  I am convinced that the payoff from understanding the reasons for solar’s success includes learning how to support other low-carbon technologies with analogous properties. While many technologies do not fit into the solar model, some including small nuclear reactors and direct air capture, have characteristics that make them suitable for following solar’s path. They can benefit from solar’s drivers: scientific understanding of a phenomenon,  evolving R&D foci, iterative upscaling, learning by doing, knowledge spillovers, modular scale, policy-independent niche markets, robust policy support, and delayed system integration challenges.

 

However, it took solar six decades to become low-cost.  The urgency of addressing climate change means that key challenges in applying the solar model are to find ways to speed up innovation.  A second important research question is thus not just how solar became cheap, but also why it took so long.  The capstone of the book is a set of nine innovation accelerators—actions that would have sped the development of PV and which could be applied to new low-carbon technologies that fit the solar model.

These accelerators include focusing on: Technology Push, Knowledge Spillovers, and Demand Pull innovation drivers.

My perspective is that committed government action in multiple jurisdictions can enhance each of these nine innovation accelerators and stimulate improvement in and adoption of the broad set of technologies we will need to address climate change.

Reference

Nemet, G. F. (2019). How Solar Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation, Routledge.

 


This post written by Greg Nemet.

50 thoughts on “Guest Contribution: “How Solar Energy Became Cheap”

  1. pgl

    A must read. I really like his close:

    “My perspective is that committed government action in multiple jurisdictions can enhance each of these nine innovation accelerators and stimulate improvement in and adoption of the broad set of technologies we will need to address climate change.”

    People around the world are contributing to the improvement and adoption of new and needed technologies. If we were smart we would open this up and work with the Chinese, the Germans, etc. Alas that may have to wait until we have a new President as the current one adores tariffs, often attacks foreigners, and basically does not get the need to address climate change.

    Reply
  2. Moses Herzog

    This is what the broader public is missing about solar energy, is that economically and efficiency wise it is one of the best energy sources we have. Along with wind energy. I’m kind of sitting on the fence on nuclear energy, leaning towards being against it, but I think the jury is still out on nuclear energy. Books like this serve the greater good by broadening public awareness. Especially when the forces of the petroleum industry propaganda and bribery of state and national level legislators are so strong.

    My only/single fault-finding of this book–which I’m guessing is NOT Mr. Nemet’s fault—is the price point of the book. You can’t really expect a book like this to get a wide readership when asking people to drop down 8 good meals on what is probably considered a semi-complex and semi-dry topic. Now if Mr. Nemet says “this book is more for policy makers” I guess that’s fine also, but I tend to doubt it as most legislators only care what wine.expensive dinners, envelopes of cash, tickets to major sports events they can get from the petroleum industry. If books are priced for people with 6 figure salaries, you can’t very well expect soybean farmers who can’t understand why those dirty liberals keep trying to kill off coal jobs to be enraptured with solar energy. Could I request this book and probably get it from my public library?? PROBABLY. But I am not going to be a big enough jerk/ “free-loader” (which I kinda am with my local library) to have the unmitigated gall to ask them to get a $42 book, when I imagine there might be similar books (maybe not as good as Professor Nemet’s book, but pretty close) that are only about $18.

    I’m a pretty big SOB when it comes to searching out freebies—but not that big of an SOB.

    Reply
  3. Bruce Hall

    Solar energy success will revolve around vastly improved battery technology and significantly lower batteries prices so that the cost fossil fuel/nuclear backup systems can be eliminated. Until then, I don’t see a massive switch to a solar powered grid.

    Until then, I have to take your tax dollars to directly subsidize my solar power.

    Reply
    1. pgl

      You prefaced another comment with “Back in my old industrial management courses”

      You took industrial management? Seriously? I guess you flunked those courses given the nonsense you normally write such as this really stupid comment.

      Hans clearly needs to finally read the post. You should too. DUH!

      Reply
      1. Bruce Hall

        Oh, pgl, you need to give it a rest. Do you even know what industrial management is? You should just curl up in front of a 4k screen displaying a fireplace and read your economics for budding green socialists’ books.

        A study by the University of Texas projected that U.S. energy subsidies per megawatt hour in 2019 would be $0.5 for coal, $1- $2 for oil and natural gas, $15- $57 for wind and $43- $320 for solar. Many of the renewable energy subsidies come in the form of a Production Tax Credit (PTC) of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Wholesale prices for electricity in 2017 were between approximately 2.9 cents to 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour. Therefore the wind production tax credit covers 30% to 60% of wholesale electricity prices. https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2018/03/23/renewable-energy-subsidies-yes-or-no/#75d1c8586e23

        But you continue to believe your own propaganda regardless of the actual economics and technology involved. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611683/the-25-trillion-reason-we-cant-rely-on-batteries-to-clean-up-the-grid/
        But, hey, MIT is just one of those non-economics oriented schools with dubious technology credentials.

        Reply
        1. pgl

          “Do you even know what industrial management is?”

          Yea I do Brucie boy. And do you have a clue how utterly arrogant you sound? Now if you might make a real point now and there but you don’t.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Hall

            pgl, do you have any real knowledge or are you just a sarcastic comedian? Too bad your reading skills are limited to lifting phrases from complete sentences.

        2. pgl

          “Fluctuating solar and wind power require lots of energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries seem like the obvious choice—but they are far too expensive to play a major role.”

          There is a recent boom in lithium prices which has raised an interesting transfer pricing issues I’m consulting on. But Brucie boy thinks I’m unaware of this as I peddle some sort of “propaganda”. Seriously Bruce? Do get over yourself sometime and actually READ the post here. DUH!

          Reply
        3. 2slugbaits

          Bruce Hall You should learn to be very skeptical of “studies” written by fossil fuel energy hacks. Unfortunately I didn’t see a link to the actual paper, but I’d be interested in knowing whether they considered including the externality costs of some fossil as a subsidy. I’m guessing that they didn’t. But here’s a readable paper co-authored by James H. Stock. You can ask Menzie about him, but I’d say he is a competent econometrician:
          https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.32.4.53
          The paper includes a nice discussion of solar panels. One takeaway is to be sensitive to the difference between a static cost analysis and a dynamic cost analysis. Another takeaway that connects to your comment about industrial management is to beware of path dependent solutions. Natural gas presents a path dependent solution such that the net long run result is no change in CO2 emissions, as further discussed in this paper:
          http://environment.yale.edu/gillingham/GillinghamHuang_AbundantNG.pdf
          …although abundant natural gas supply results in welfare gains both with and without carbon pricing scenarios, it does not reduce CO2 emissions significantly over the projected period. This is because cheaper natural gas replaces not only coal but also renewables. On the other hand, natural gas is relatively effective in reducing air pollutions from burning fossil fuels. This implies that abundant natural gas should not be seen as a “bridge” to a low-carbon future, but rather as a source of welfare improvements. Second, climate policy—such as a carbon pricing policy—reduces CO2 and air pollutant emissions, reaching even lower emission levels when combined with increased gas supply in the market.

          Reply
          1. CoRev

            2slugs, what is obvious is that the author and many readers have ignored the externality costs associated with solar. Moreover, the author and many readers are conflating solar panels with solar energy. Although they are related but they are not equal, and this is due to their external costs differences. Why are there cost differences? The intermittent nature of solar and wind power adds to those external costs when compared to fossil and nuclear fueled generation. This is especially true when those fossil and nuclear fueled generation sources are the backups.

            The ignorance is just sad. This fairy tail has been peddled for too many years now.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            CoRev: As a colleague of the author of the book and someone who has been in seminars the author has presented, I’ll just say (1) many people understand externalities, (2) do recognize the difference between solar panels and solar energy, (3) and that the powerstorage issue is surmountable.

          3. CoRev

            Menzie all are surmountable AT SOME COST! What costs do you want to apply? This article and several of the comments misrepresented them by emphasizing this: “The costs ofsolar PV modules have fallen by more than a factor of 10,000 since they were first commercialized in 1957 and sunny places solar electricity is now cheaper than any other form of electricity. It may be the cheapest way that humans have ever been able to produce electricity at scale.”

            Strangely, back in the real world, Australia, a sunny place, is finding just the opposite of the costs claims. In 2017 Australian households pay highest power prices in world https://www.afr.com/news/australian-households-pay-highest-power-prices-in-world-20170804-gxp58a, and it has gotten worse because of the demands for Green energy. Then we have this more recent post: “18 years of Renewable Energy Target means an expensive and unstable grid, and still 75% coal” http://joannenova.com.au/2019/06/18-years-of-renewable-energy-target-means-an-expensive-and-unstable-grid-and-still-75-coal/
            Australia has subsidized home solar panels for years and an unstable grid and high costs are the end result. Quoting the article:]
            “…We drove out some brown coal, but swapped it for black coal. Instead of ousting coal power, the extra solar and wind power replaced some gas and hydro.

            The team doesn’t question the need for an artificial expensive transition. Almost all the problems they describe are caused by government policies that task our grid with changing the climate as well as producing cheap and reliable electricity.
            In a grid being ruined by inept policy, the implied solutions almost all involve more regulation and government policy. If our gas prices are too high we could ban sales overseas, but then we lose the export income. The left hand steals from the right. The free market solution is to use another fuel, like coal or nukes, or explore for more gas. When the new report says “Thermal plants are aging and are highly unlikely to be replaced by new coal plants” they don’t add — but only because government policy prevents this.
            Changing markets and scheme “Design” won’t save us — it won’t make low density energy more dense, it won’t make intermittent supply more reliable, or batteries cheaper, or open up vast land near the demand for electricity. All these are structural problems — and every solution involves throwing money.”

            Do any of these real world problems sound familiar? They are representative of today’s Dem energy & climate goals.

          4. 2slugbaits

            CoRev As usual, you always base your arguments on low brow sources. Australia’s problems are a lot more complicated than described by your dimwitted links. It takes about two minutes of research to discredit your usual garbage. See here for a more detailed explanation as to what’s happening in Australia:
            https://www.power-technology.com/features/australia-energy-prices/
            And note that part of the problem is that Australia exports its cheap LNG to the US. Another problem is that Australia’s energy providers are deregulated, so consumers get a dizzyingly complicated menu of companies offering inefficient quasi-markets for consumers. It reminds me of our godawful telecoms on steroids.
            https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/electricity-costs-kwh/
            And much of those high rates reflect the initial fixed costs rather than the marginal costs of producing a kilowatt.
            rate rises in some areas have been largely attributed to increased infrastructure spending by networks, forcing up supply charges. Fortunately, the Australian Energy Market Commission’s most recent report says that it expects residential electricity prices to flatten or fall around Australia in the coming years, due in part to tightened policy on network costs.
            https://www.power-technology.com/features/australia-energy-prices/
            Eventually the US is going to have to upgrade its grid infrastructure and we’ll face those same initial fixed costs.
            Finally, as this government study argues, most of Australia’s problems have to do with ordinary microeconomic market failures and not with green technology itself. If you could bother yourself to read an econ textbook, it would look quite familiar.
            https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Retail%20Electricity%20Pricing%20Inquiry—Final%20Report%20June%202018_Exec%20summary.pdf

          5. CoRev

            2slugs, your arrogance does amaze. You claim: “CoRev As usual, you always base your arguments on low brow sources. ” The provide references from a trade magazine, a shopping comparison site, and finally get to an Australia Competition & Consumer Commission Report which starts with this: “Australia is facing its most challenging time in electricity markets. High prices and bills have placed enormous strain on household budgets and business viability. The current situation is unacceptable and unsustainable.”

            In some incomprehensibly arrogantly warped way you think those sources are high brow and in some way refute what I said about high prices in OZ. Had you read my article nearly every if not every point you think you made was covered in it.

            Except for this one: “And note that part of the problem is that Australia exports its cheap LNG to the US.” Please actually read what you reference instead of spending 2 minutes of garbage research. This is what you reference actually said: “This compares to 9% of production exported in the US, which leaves plenty of supply to ensure cheap energy prices for American consumers. ” That’s in not to the US.

            Also, had you actually read your 1st reference instead of just looking at the section titles you would have found that in several sections the content contradicted the title. Go bck and actually read the section: Are renewables to blame? Its a treatise on why the anti-coal Green new Deal will fail. Just as it has in OZ.

            This is so typical of your efforts. You can not see beyond or outside your own biased opinion.

            Please read some natural science books. Your opinion is just not supported empirically. Empirically means the real world for Menzie and pgl.

          6. baffling

            corev, i imagine it simply enrages you to learn that texas is leading the nation in renewables along with the construction of dedicated infrastructure to transmit renewable power efficiently across the state. yes that liberal hotbed known as texas is promoting the use of renewables as a major source of energy. why all the anger at renewable energy? it is cheap, effective and it works. it is the future. why are old white guys so fixed on keeping the world in the 1950’s?

          7. 2slugbaits

            CoRev The point of the “shopping list” was to show that one reason Australians pay so much for electricity is because selecting an energy provider is likely to lead to expensive choices unless consumers are willing to absorb significant transaction costs. The “trade” site was making the point that much of the problem with switching to a green source of energy was the political whiplash between green and dirty sources. StopGo, StopGo policies are never a good idea, especially when there are large initial fixed costs. As to LNG being exported, the issue isn’t whether or not there is sufficient supplies remaining within Australia; the issue is the effect exports of LNG have on Australian electricity prices. And the point of the ACC paper was that market concentration in an unregulated environment contributes to higher electricity prices for consumers.

    2. pgl

      Bruce Hall wants to tell us that storage will always make solar energy expensive. Of course he is assuming that the high cost of lithium batteries is the only way. Here is a discussion that suggests we can learn to store energy in alternative means:

      https://www.chooseenergy.com/news/article/lithium-batteries-might-not-answer-renewables-storage-problem/

      As our post notes – learning by doing. Of course Brucie boy thinks he is smarter than the rest of us as he took industrial management, which is basically an engineer with an MBA. When MBA types start lecturing economists, it is always a good laugh!

      Reply
      1. CoRev

        Pgl, again you amaze! “Bruce Hall wants to tell us that storage will always make solar energy expensive. Of course he is assuming that the high cost of lithium batteries is the only way. ” you then go on to describe alternative methods to STORE the excess electrical energy generated.

        All the while he misunderstand the fundamental economics problem of solar and wind renewables, and it was right in the beginning of his referenced article: “However, as more companies, cities and state governments adopt renewable power goals, they all face an unshakeable obstacle: energy storage.”

        As an economist how do you justify these ADDED COSTS without adding them to the total costs? Compare total costs of the various energy sources before proclaiming one cheaper than the other.

        Reply
    3. 2slugbaits

      Bruce Hall I don’t see a massive switch to a solar powered grid

      That’s because you’re trapped in thinking that solar power has to be tied to a grid. It doesn’t.

      Reply
    4. Ulenspiegel

      “Solar energy success will revolve around vastly improved battery technology and significantly lower batteries prices”

      The trick is to analyse the effect of better transmisson lines and a balanced ratio between wind and PV. Batteries are only a big player in the USA, this could tell you something.

      Reply
    1. pgl

      Gee Hans – try actually READING the post. China is producing very cheap solar energy which we can import. Oh wait – Trump read learning by doing and is mulling over his “beautiful” tariffs. Of course if learning by doing is for real – then subsidies may be a preferred policy.

      Now had you read this excellent piece and put on a magic thinking cap (do we need to buy you one) maybe this would have pooped into your “brain”. Or maybe not!

      Reply
      1. Hans

        PGL, the only thing I agree with this “How Solar Energy Became Cheap” solar book
        is that costs have dramatically declined. Nevertheless, as Mr Hall has so vividly point
        out, they are still not cost effective nor reliable producer of energy.

        All of us would like to exit the grid [gridxit] but the economics will simply
        not support the transition.

        PGE, you are aware that solar panels have a limited shelf life? They are not forever
        nor are they 100% reliable for energy production.

        It is laughable with the left incorporates economics, as your rational mind should
        have reached similar nine grade conclusions.

        Reply
    2. Moses Herzog

      @ Hans
      The same question might be asked about oil and coal, which have been subsidized over decades, and receive way more subsidies and tax breaks than wind and solar. Check the state laws on the books in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma and you’ll find the deck of cards strongly stacked against wind and solar. In fact oil lobbyists FEAR a level playing ground for solar and wind power. The figure of $20 Billion per year in fossil fuel subsidies is for the USA alone
      https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/10/6/16428458/us-energy-coal-oil-subsidies

      Did you know in MANY states and regions it is ILLEGAL to put solar panels up on your house?? Who do you think gets those laws passed when they contribute to James Inhofe’s and James Lankford’s PAC funds??
      https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:6Fb6F1aeWesJ:https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-no-solar-20140810-story.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

      https://www.renewableenergyhub.co.uk/blog/its-illegal-to-power-your-home-with-solar-panels-in-florida/

      Aside from that, there is also the issue of external costs, which cannot always be accurately measured.

      Reply
      1. Hans

        My Dear Moses:

        A vox on your house. A disingenuous quote if there ever was one, Herr Moses. “Did you know in MANY states and regions it is ILLEGAL to put solar panels up on your house??” The only party to this transgression would be a HOA. [ home owners association]

        “The trouble starts with a company called Florida Power and Light which is one of the biggest utility companies in the state. Rather than putting money into the future of renewables and solar energy, the company has spent vast swathes of cash lobbying government. That means lawmakers have enacted legislation so that home owners can’t power their own homes with renewables like solar.

        “The same question might be asked about oil and coal, which have been subsidized over decades, and receive way more subsidies and tax breaks than wind and solar. Check the state laws on the books in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma and you’ll find the deck of cards strongly stacked against wind and solar. In fact oil lobbyists FEAR a level playing ground for solar and wind power. The figure of $20 Billion per year in fossil fuel subsidies is for the USA alone.”

        The fake and false narrative.

        Can you show where fossil fuel producers are paid cash? Tax breaks, a normal course of business for
        governmental units, which you only condemn for businesses which you do not support.

        That doesn’t mean you can’t have solar panels. But you do have to connect them to the local grid and it’s illegal to simply run your own house in isolation, even if you have enough roof space and battery storage to do so. When a problem like Hurricane Irma occurs, it makes sense if you can power a home through any means, including solar, rather than depending on the utility company to fix the supply. Several weeks after the hurricane hit, there were still people, especially in remote areas who were without power.”

        I find your arguments specious and unconvincing. In the “free” market place your green
        energy would not survive and thus you require the intervention of governmental units to
        seek your euphorian goals.

        How about the passes all of the EVs are receiving on an annual basis, all the while
        our roads and bridges are deteriorating? Still no road tax in California for EV
        despite having the highest tax on ICE.

        Tax credits and subsidies are something the left can not live without.

        Reply
  4. pgl

    CoRev’s hero – William Happer

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/william-happer-blocked-testimony-climate-change

    Trump Admin’s CO2 Champion Intervened To Quash Testimony On Climate Crisis
    A top White House official who has championed the environmental benefits of carbon dioxide apparently intervened to quash scientific research on the coming climate crisis.
    The Washington Post and New York Times reported Saturday that the Trump administration refused to allow written testimony from a State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research analyst about the “possibly catastrophic” effects of climate change to be entered into the congressional record last week.
    One of the voices calling to reject that testimony, according to the Post, was the Trump administration’s in-house climate science denier, National Security Council senior director William Happer.
    A TPM analysis found that some comments from an unnamed Trump administration official in the margins of that written testimony repeat talking points and exact language Happer has used in paid testimony for an energy company and in fossil-fuel-funded think tanks.
    The Times and Post both cited unnamed sources over the weekend to report that Happer — a 79-year-old physics PhD and star of the right-wing pro-carbon-dioxide movement — wrote extensive comments on analyst Rod Schoonover’s drafted written testimony on the national security implications of climate change.
    But the anonymous commenter practically outed himself in writing. On marked-up testimony published by the Times, the commenter, who identified only as being affiliated with the National Security Council, wrote at one point: “People used to talk about the degraded soil of my birthplace, India. Since I left India in 1948…”
    That only describes one current NSC official: Happer, who was born in India and once said an interview that his family “returned to my father’s home in Scotland” in 1948.
    The NSC did not return TPM’s request for comment.
    Other comments left in the document’s margins, many of which only tangentially relate to Schoonover’s testimony, echoed paid work Happer has done for an energy company and fossil-fuel-funded think tanks.
    For example, comment #30 on the written testimony cheers: “Agriculture and forestry yields are steadily increasing due to the beneficial effects of more CO2.”
    Though numerous climate scientists have discounted this argument, a favorite of Happer’s, by pointing out that the negative effects of more CO2 in the atmosphere outweigh any positives in plant growth, Happer used these same words in testimony paid for by the coal company Peabody Energy.
    Happer told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in 2015, speaking as an expert witness for Peabody: “The economic models also greatly underestimate the very beneficial effects of more CO2 on agriculture.”
    Later that year, Happer revealed to undercover Greenpeace activists posing as fossil fuel representatives that Peabody Energy paid his group, the CO2 Coalition, $8,000 for that testimony.
    There are more examples of crossover from fossil-fuel-funded work to the National Security Council comments.
    Comment #16 asserts that computer models “have predicted far more warming than has been observed.”
    Happer has used these same words in an interview with the website TheBestSchools.org, which was subsequently re-published by the notoriously anti-climate-science Heartland Institute and the libertarian Cato Institute, both of which have ties to Happer.
    A similar line, about models that “have predicted several hundred per cent more warming than has actually been observed over the past 10 to 20 years,” appears twice in Happer’s Peabody-funded testimony.
    Contrary to that testimony, the Yale Climate Connections reported in a 2017 analysis of the history of temperature modeling: “While some models projected less warming than we’ve experienced and some projected more, all showed surface temperature increases between 1970 and 2016 that were not too far off from what actually occurred, particularly when differences in assumed future emissions are taken into account.”
    Comment #21 claims that CO2 is “substantially increasing” vegetation, citing “satellite observations of global greening due to the relative modest increases of CO2 that have occurred over the past fifty years.”
    Happer’s Peabody-funded testimony likewise refers to “a very pronounced ‘greening’ of the Earth” resulting from a “modest increase” in CO2. And the CO2 Coalition, which Happer founded with ex-American Petroleum Institute COO William O’Keefe as a platform for anti-climate-science material, has published extensively on the beneficial effects of CO2 emissions on “global greening.”
    The UC Santa Cruz environmental sciences professor whose study of “global greening” was celebrated by the pro-CO2 lobby, Dr. J. Elliot Campbell, told The New York Times in July: “The driving factor [in increased agricultural production] has to be the fertilizers, the seed varieties, the irrigation.” He added: ““Plants are quietly scrubbing the air of one China’s worth of carbon. What frightens me is knowing this can’t go on forever… If respiration catches up with photosynthesis, this huge carbon reservoir could spill back into our air.”
    The pushback against Schoonover’s testimony is hardly the first time the Trump administration has echoed the fossil fuel industry’s talking points. A few weeks after President Trump’s inauguration, for example, a White House statement lifted passages word-for-word from an ExxonMobil press release.
    Schoonover declined to comment and directed TPM to the State Department, which referred questions to the White House. A spokesperson there told TPM: “The administration does not comment on its internal policy review.” A White House legislative affairs staffer separately told the Times that Schoonover’s testimony didn’t “reflect the coordinated [intelligence community] position, or the administration’s position.”

    Reply
    1. CoRev

      Pgl, did you have a specific complaint about the the claims cited? You didn’t seem to understand that the Glacier Park glaciers were growing and unlikely to disappear in the next 5 months. Nor did you understand that the US representatives are apportioned to stated by population not voters. Now you, and others, believe that the State Department Intelligence Division is a center of climate science expertise. And, lest we forget, you in depth knowledge how WEATHER HAS NO INFLUENCE on farmers’ crops.

      Let me repeat the closing of your reference: “A White House legislative affairs staffer separately told the Times that Schoonover’s testimony didn’t “reflect the coordinated [intelligence community] position, or the administration’s position.” IIRC someone recently said elections have consequences. If his counterparts don’t agree then why should his testimony be accepted? Oh wait. It was presented before even another Dem House Committee.

      Reply
      1. pgl

        The troll asked to be feed again! OK – where did anywhere here predict glaciers would disappear before Trump left office? No they will still be there even after the new President is sworn in on 1/20/2021.

        Reply
        1. CoRev

          Wow, after being embarrassed again by his knee jerk reactions, he gets the importance of the glacier reference. “No they will still be there even after the new President is sworn in on 1/20/2021.”

          As will the snow, Arctic Ice, glaciers, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods and several other missed predictions by his preferred climate scientists. Still he ridicules Happer who just points out these weaknesses and asks for reviews of the (?settled?) science.

          Bottom lining this whole disgraceful science we have the latest scary prediction that we only have <12 years before its too late. And, many here believe that!

          Reply
  5. Hans

    “How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation.”

    260 pages; hardcover retails for $260.oo !

    I hope this is not the mindset of the author ” A cohort of adopters with high willingness to pay,”
    because it will not be supported by the marketplace, unless the “high willingness to pay” is the American
    taxpayers.

    Reply
    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Hans: This is a statement regarding deviation from the representative agent paradigm. Are you saying we’re homogeneous? Or that you would like us to be homogeneous? (I dunno — all white, Protestant, middle-income, english-speaking — maybe that’s your idealized world?)

      You should visit that socialist multi-cultural hell-hole, SF Bay Area; you’ve never seen so many Teslas being driven around…

      Reply
      1. Hans

        Professor Chinn, it seems that multiculturalism is a theme to
        advance the guilt ridden conscience of the Progressive class.

        What purpose does it serve? Is society better or worse off?
        Are the gains lost to trade offs?

        “(I dunno — all white, Protestant, middle-income, english-speaking — maybe that’s your idealized world?)”

        You do realize that what you described, Professor Chinn, represents a minor
        percentage of the world’s population – a “homogeneous” minority requiring
        more marginalization.

        Why should any cultural core be weaken, debased or destroyed?

        Reply
  6. baffling

    renewable energy is the way of the future. i find it ironic that most of those who are anti renewables are simply old white guys. why is that?

    those of you who complain about subsidies, think about the trillion dollars we spent on war in the middle east in order to preserve access to oil. do you realize we would be energy independent if that trillion dollars had been spent here in the usa to develop wind and solar resources to their maximum potential? this hatred for renewables, simply because it has a green environmental angle to it as well, is simply baffling. if renewables were not considered green, but simply a long term solution to energy independence, it would be easier to convince a certain segment of their adoption. but the green angle simply creates a knee-jerk reaction from them. it is a behavior that is hard to understand.

    a while ago, i had the discussion with steven kopits about electric vehicles versus gas vehicles. steven was very adamant that electric vehicles were a niche and not a suitable replacement for gas guzzlers in the near future. look at ALL of the major auto makers today. they are ALL transitioning to electric fleets, and soon. the days of gas guzzlers are probably even shorter than even i imagined. the same thing with renewables. texas, of all places, is leading the charge in renewables. they built a dedicated transmission line for the cause-state subsidized by rick perry! all of you anti-renewables are simply pissing into the wind and too stoooopid to understand why your face is wet.

    Reply
    1. CoRev

      And out comes baffled’s racism: ” i find it ironic that most of those who are anti renewables are simplyold white guys. why is that? Not only age prejudiced but white prejudiced. Bet’cha he didn’t even notice it. Why’s that?

      BTW, you might look at this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_opinion_by_country#Africa to see how the Asia/Pacific and middle East regions accept Climate Change. And don’t forget that monotonically colored country, Brazil, just pulled out of hosting the next Climate Change meeting. Now some of these statistics are from 2015, when CC was near its peak.

      Reply
  7. Hans

    Baffing, your rebuttal is nothing more than a emotional
    soap less bath; excluding facts and common sense.

    I left a link of a Texan Repubco mayor, whom forced this city [community]
    to go 100% green, which you neglected to read. Green goes red, in more ways
    than one.

    One thing consistent with the Far Side Left, is their inability
    to reason or use economic logic.

    How ironic that they even populate economic forums? I demand
    reproduction rights!

    Reply
    1. baffling

      facts. hans, i do not think you understand what that term means. please let me point out once again. then governor perry, republican from texas, built a dedicated transmission line to get wind power to texas urban areas. fact. many of the major auto companies have already moved towards the electric vehicle platform, with some only producing electric vehicles in the near term. fact.
      hans, are you trying to dispute these facts with your own alternative facts? lets hear it. in the mean time, here is a towel, please dry your face.

      Reply
  8. Hans

    Sir Baffing, you are merely describing political theater and
    then attempting to adjudicate them as facts. LOL

    “many of the major auto companies have already moved towards the electric vehicle platform, with some only producing electric vehicles in the near term.”

    Yes, you are correctoe, that many auto manufactures are building EV, nevertheless, they are 1%
    of the total market share of sales! Only Telsa and his Muskmobile, are the only pure EV manufacture.

    And BTW, who cares about dat windbag Perry?

    Reply
    1. baffling

      apparently not only does hans not understand what a fact is, he does not even understand what they represent. quit pissing into the wind hans.

      Reply
  9. baffling

    “Not only age prejudiced but white prejudiced. Bet’cha he didn’t even notice it. ”
    corev, lets take a look at this blog. can you guess the age and ethnicity of corev, peak loser, dick stryker and bruce hall? keep pissing into the wind corev.

    Reply
    1. CoRev

      Baffled, confirms his AGE prejudice by now guessing commenters ages. While he ignores the other of his prejudices, Caucasian, white, those ot5hers NOT of color. As if any of that makes a difference. PREJUDICE IS PREJUDICE! “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” Ergo my selection/adjustment, long ago, of his pseudonym.

      Reply

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