Climate

Exclusive: Richard Muller, Charles Koch, Judith Curry and the implosion of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study

How to kill a potentially not-bad idea in 5 easy steps

Multiple head-vise alert!

http://games.gearlive.com/blogimages/head_asplode.jpgLet’s say you’re a major national lab, affiliated with a major university, concerned about critiques of the global temperature record.  Let’s say you get the bright idea to assemble some really smart scientists and statisticians “to resolve current criticism of the [global] temperature analyses, and to prepare an open record that will allow rapid response to further criticism or suggestions.”

Let’s set aside the fact that the various groups involved from NASA to NOAA to the Met Office have been undertaking their own reviews (see The deniers were half right: The Met Office Hadley Centre had flawed data “” but it led them to UNDERestimate the rate of recent global warming and “Watts not to love: New study finds the poor weather stations tend to have a slight COOL bias, not a warm one“).

You know that because you are prestigious, independent institution, you can bring fresh eyes and credibility to this supposed problem.

How would you go about killing this potentially not-bad idea?   How about picking a co-chair whose knowledge of the subject has been widely criticized?  How about including a bunch of prestigious scientists who know very little about the subject and who have little involvement in the actual study?  How about having your only actual climate scientist — presumably chosen for extra credibility — be Judith Curry?  How about having a family member of the ill-informed co-chair be project manager?   How about taking money from one of the biggest funders of anti-science disinformation in the world?

What’s that you say?  No serious organization on the planet would do something like that, especially in an effort whose entire purpose is to boost credibility?

Let me introduce you to the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study, launched in part with a grant by the prestigious Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, co-chaired by Richard Muller (author of widely debunked books, blog posts and Wall Street Journal op-eds), and co-funded by … wait for it … the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation!

I warned you about the head vises!

Let’s start with Muller.

It is hard to imagine a worse choice to co-chair a study on anything to do with the temperature record aimed at using mathematics to restore some supposedly lost credibility.  Muller himself has actually worked to undermine credibility in well-established science.  He doesn’t have a great grasp of basic climate science (see “Confusing Future Presidents, Part 1“).  Or energy (see “Confusing Future Presidents, Part 2“).

Muller bought into the entire McIntyre and McKitrick nonsense that there was a fundamental flaw in the “hockey stick” analysis by Michael Mann and others that recent warming is likely unprecedented.  He still has on his website an essay, “Global Warming Bombshell,” that he published in Technology Review, aiming to show that

… the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.

Not!  It is Muller whose conclusions are an artifact of poor mathematics.

You’d never know it from Muller but the Hockey Stick was affirmed in a major review by the uber-prestigious National Academy of Sciences (in media-speak, the highest scientific “court” in the land) “” see NAS Report and here.

Muller claims that  “In the end, there was nothing new left in Mann’s papers that the National Academy supported, other than the idea that using principal component analysis was, in principle, a good one.”  More objectively, the news story in the journal Nature (subs. req’d) on the NAS panel was headlined:  “Academy affirms hockey-stick graph“!  Nature wrote, “In its report, released on 22 June, the NAS committee more-or-less endorses the work behind the graph.”

Muller seems completely unaware that the Hockey Stick has been replicated and strengthened by numerous independent studies:

And Muller continues to push his contrarian views in venues that delight in such nonsense, including a December 2009 Wall Street Journal Lomborgian opinion piece, “Naked Copenhagen,” which includes such flippant statements as:

Will Happer, a former director of research for the Department of Energy, argues that additional CO2 may have helped the agricultural revolution. And chilly Berkeley might be nicer with a few degrees warming.

Seriously.

In case you think Muller has somehow changed his stripes, here’s a ‘news‘ article from the student-run newspaper Friday about the study:

Global warming is real, Muller said, but both its deniers and exaggerators ignore the science in order to make their point.

“There are the skeptics – they’re not the consensus,” Muller explained. “There are the exaggerators, like Al Gore and Tom Friedman who tell you things that are not part of the consensus … (which) goes largely off of thermometer records.”

Some scientists who fear that their results will be misinterpreted as proof that global warming is not urgent, such as in the case of Climategate, fall into a similar trap of exaggeration.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study was conducted with the intention of becoming the new, irrefutable consensus, simply by providing the most complete set of historical and modern temperature data yet made publicly available, so deniers and exaggerators alike can see the numbers.

That is truly a nasty and false smear on two leading Americans, a Nobel laureate along with a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner.  Not exactly a great pitch if your goal is to restore credibility.

Muller appears to be the one who went out and raised money for the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study.  It’s hard to imagine anyone else associated with LBNL or the University of California, Berkeley who would ever have asked the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation to fund a re-examination of climate date in an effort to restore credibility.  After all, UCB has already been widely criticized for taking $500 million from British Petroleum for its biofuels Institute — see “UC Berkeley’s BP Deal Tainted By Oil Spill.

It’s hard to imagine a more irresponsible and anti-scientific person than Charles Koch.  ClimateProgress and WonkRoom and ThinkProgress have long detailed the role of the billionaire brothers of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, in destroying American prosperity.  The post Koch Industries outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation explains:

In a must-read report, Greenpeace details how Koch Industries has “become a financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition,” spending over $48.5 million since 1997 to fund the anti-science disinformation machine.

Of course, the Kochs like to burnish their reputations by funding  museum exhibits and opera halls, but, as I’ve noted, even the Koch-funded Smithsonian exhibit whitewashes danger of human-caused climate change.  And it’s not like you have to read blogs to learn of their disinformation campaign.  It has been written about by NYT columnist Frank Rich and the New Yorker.

So I can see why the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation would want to associate itself with Berkeley, as part of the Kochs’ ongoing greenwashing efforts.  But why in the world would Berkeley want to associate itself with Charles Koch?

Do check out the other funders, as the this is quite interesting.

As for the team members, you can go to this page to learn:

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team includes statisticians, physicists, climate experts and others with experience analyzing large and complex data sets.

Actually there is only one climatologist listed.  You guessed it — Judith Curry.

Pretty much the entire science blogosphere have written at length about my old friend Curry.

If you were trying to restore credibility in the temperature data record, if you were looking for one climatologist in the entire country to put on your team, Curry probably wouldn’t be on your short list or your long list.  On her website, Curry states:

I’m not exactly sure what my originally intended role in this was, other than that they viewed me as person that was concerned about uncertainties in the temperature data set, relatively unbiased, and making public statements about the need for transparency and openness in the data sets.  I participated loosely in this project, mostly as a resource person calling their attention to any new papers or blog posts that I thought were relevant and as a sounding board for ideas.  As they have begun analyzing the data, I have completely refrained from commenting on the process or preliminary results, I have only made suggestions regarding where they might publish their analyses, etc.

So even Curry isn’t doing much.

Based on my communications with other people familiar with the study, I am quite confident that many if not most of the other members aren’t doing very much either.  It also appears that most of the other members know little about the controversies surrounding Curry — or Muller, for that matter — let alone that one of the funding sources is Koch.

As but one last example of Muller’s bad judgment, the student newspaper ends:

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study was conducted with the intention of becoming the new, irrefutable consensus, simply by providing the most complete set of historical and modern temperature data yet made publicly available, so deniers and exaggerators alike can see the numbers.

“We believed that if we brought in the best of the best in terms of statistics, we could use methods that would be easier to understand and not as open to actual manipulation,” said Elizabeth Muller, Richard Muller’s daughter and project manager of the study. “We just create a methodology that will then have no human interaction to pick or choose data.”

C’mon, people!  Can you imagine what would happen if Pachauri or Hansen put together such a team and had their kid as the project manager?  I really hope she’s not getting paid for this.

Ironically, the BEST study (that acronym inspires another, ROTFLMAO) could conceivably come up with some interesting results.  Too bad it imploded.

39 Responses to Exclusive: Richard Muller, Charles Koch, Judith Curry and the implosion of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study

  1. Icarus says:

    “We just create a methodology that will then have no human interaction to pick or choose data”

    That’s absurd. How will they create a ‘methodology’ that knows (without human interaction) that a weather station has been moved uphill, or that a satellite record needs to be corrected for instrument drift, or that observations started being taken at 9am instead of 7am in 1920, or any other real-world factors that need to be taken into account before the data is used in any analysis?

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Wow. This is the first time I’ve ever felt ashamed to be a UC Berkeley alumnus. I’m going to send this to a few people I know there, and suggest that others from CP contact the Chancellor and the Board of Regents.

    Sure they’re getting a few bucks for this, but the damage to Berkeley’s credibility will be enormous, and worth a lot more even in financial terms.

    There is really no excuse for Berkeley getting mixed up with people like Muller and Curry, and going down a road that has produced nothing but crashes in the past. Why not just put Anthony Watts in charge?

  3. BR says:

    Mike and Joe – LBL, while affiliated with UC Berkeley, is independent. Its funding is distinct, as are its researchers / staff. And even if it were run by the university, it’d be like blaming MIT for Richard Lindzen’s nonsense.

    [JR: I am aware it is independent. But look at the funders, the team members, and the project name.]

  4. John Mason says:

    Just undoing the vise again… slowly does it… careful now!

    Cheers – John

  5. Bill Waterhouse says:

    As another alum, from the lineup of physicists and with the project associated with the novim org – http://www.novim.org/ – I see a geoengineering agenda.

  6. Scrooge says:

    Looks like JC typical defense now is I don’t know I just relay information. To be able to support the group she wants to she had to dumb herself down. She is becoming an interpreter of interpretations.

  7. Jeff Huggins says:

    As a UC Berkeley alum, I’m saddened and shocked and ashamed hearing about this. Yikes! What’s up? I agree with Mike Roddy (Comment 2). So much for credibility.

    Sigh,

    Jeff

  8. Bill Waterhouse says:

    A further thought – Bill Gate’s foundation is also funding this. If Gates and the Kochs get behind geoengineering as a substitute for CO2 reductions – so the Kochs can put every last molecule of GHGs into the air – we can kiss the oceans goodbye as acidification destroys them.

  9. Icarus says:

    Someone ought to tell Judith Curry that if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

  10. Susann says:

    Curry?

    Damn. Vice not big enough…

  11. Great report. Another cancerous growth to look out for.

    It is a Berkeley blog that notes the worrisome trend in how formal academic science is funded – posing the question “Are you selling out or buying in?” http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/articles.php?issue=13&article=funding

    And then American Progress had a piece about this trend of infecting academia:
    “The world’s largest oil companies are showing surprising interest in financing alternative energy research at U.S. universities. Over the past decade, five of the world’s top 10 oil companies—ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp., BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell Group, and ConocoPhillips Co.—and other large traditional energy companies with a direct commercial stake in future energy markets have forged dozens of multi-year, multi-million-dollar alliances with top U.S. universities and scientists to carry out energy-related research. Much of this funding by “Big Oil” is being used for research into new sources of alternative energy and renewable energy, mostly biofuels.” http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/10/big_oil.html (another blog!)

  12. Ron Broberg says:

    If you look at the graph their station count, you see a sharp drop in numbers in 1972. This corresponds to the drop of stations in the GSOD data. We’ve already taken a quick look at GSOD (here and here and here) and it doesn’t vary significantly from GHCN (as seen in CRUTEMP, NOAA, and GISTEMP) over the last 6 decades. (GSOD is vary sparse prior to ~1950). So, I don’t expect anything earth-shattering when it comes to the Berkley land records. Dr. Curry keeps dropping statements that she believes that sea surface data prior to WWII is ‘disasterous.’ Maybe we will see something new there.

    In short, I don’t think that this is an effort at creating a new data source, but rather a integration of existing data sources.

  13. Ron Broberg says:

    I should add – I look forward to seeing the results of their effort.

  14. Pythagoras says:

    “Of course, the Kochs like to burnish their reputations by funding museum exhibits and opera halls,…”

    AND cancer research centers at a prestigious internationally renowned technical institute.

    (David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research)
    http://web.mit.edu/ki/

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    Between 1970 and 2005 Australia’s Great Barrier Reef saw 116 cyclones cross its path, none of which were category five. Since 2006, three cyclones — Larry, Hamish, and now Yasi – have tackled the coastline with category-five strength, dislodging large coral heads, the older corals in the reef.

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/great-barrier-reef-in-jeopardy-110214.html

    ——–
    I find this a mind boggling set of numbers, I realize the time line is short, but this spike beginning in 2005, dovetails with the Amazon droughts, and the worst coral bleaching episodes.

  16. Scrooge says:

    Koch thinks cancer is real. Maybe we can work from there.

  17. Steve Bloom says:

    Robert Rohde, who I suspect is doing most of the heavy lifting on this project, had Muller as his graduate advisor. Rohde himself has a pretty good rep, though.

  18. GFW says:

    A number of individuals (e.g. Tamino, Nick Stokes, etc.) have already shown that the “raw” result is the same as the official one(s) — just noisier. Therefore, I expect this UCB initiative to simply reaffirm the existing data sets with their implied trend, and hopefully waste a bit of Koch’s money in the process.

    As for Curry’s participation, it seems likely to follow the general Curry model of climate research.
    1. Wild claims of shoddiness and malfeasance.
    2. Being forced to learn the details.
    3. Discover the existing experts in the field already had the right result.
    4. (Maybe) grudging admission of 3.

  19. Anne van der Bom says:

    “National Academy of Scientists”

    Oops, I presume that is supposed to be “National Academy of Sciences”.

    [JR: Darn you voice dictation software!]

  20. Dana says:

    Add me to the list of Cal alumns embarassed to have the name “Berkeley” associated with this sorry group.

  21. Mike Roddy says:

    Pythagoras:

    The Kochs never give anything away without a reason. Even the ballet money is to provide a little Manhattan social cachet to what is essentially a rather crude family.

    In the case of giving money for cancer research, that’s so the cancer industry doesn’t look too closely at formaldeyde, a known carcinogen with no safe level that is banned in the EU and even China (who nevertheless ships us formaldeyde laced plywood). Koch subsidiary Georgia Pacific is a major producer of these tainted products, and the Kochs want to protect their $21 billion investment.

    Same thing with the museums and PBS- after Koch sent them a few million, their climate change messages became muted. This is as much an indictment of the crass careerism of PBS and Smithsonian executives as it is of the Kochs. Time to stand up to all of them, and return this country to some semblance of integrity.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The propensity of the pathocrats to buy the science that suits their ideology and business plans, so evident for years in medical research, always puts me in mind of Churchill’s speech, where he says, ‘If we fail, then the whole world….will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister…by the lights of perverted science’. I can think of no better description of a world run by the money power of the likes of the Kochtopus than a ‘sinister new Dark Age’, nor of efforts like this to deliberately confuse the public with mambo-jambo concocted to order, than ‘perverted science’.

  23. Jeffrey Davis says:

    About the Koch’s buying social cachet by contributing to the arts, there was a story recently about them being booed by the audience when their patronage was announced before the performance.

    In Brooklyn.

    I know Brooklyn isn’t the Brooklyn of my imagination anymore, but it’d be nice to think that their BS-meters are still primed and active.

  24. Kevin says:

    I’m not going to panic about this *(yet). If they concentrate on the temperature records as they claim is their goal, they should end up merely confirming what we’ve seen anyway. That could be helpful in terms of getting this group to acknowledge that previous work wasn’t so bad after all (though, as these things usually go, the usual suspects will claim fraud to any answer that goes against their opinions). If however, they stray from their mandate and start recommending solutions, then yes, not good.

  25. Joan Savage says:

    The Data page indicated all the data (including additional sources) would be posted in late 2010. Well, that did not happen.

    The Methodology page http://berkeleyearth.org/methodology has some components such as regional filters, empirical homogenization, avoiding gridding, and averaging steps for which I surely don’t know all the statistical implications, particularly in comparison to other methodology.

    The most elementary lesson of statistics, to the effect that variance is valuable, doesn’t come across in the Methodology, but climatology analysis is not my field, so I am inclined to wait to see other comments.

  26. Mike says:

    Muller is a very bright guy. While I wouldn’t write him off as another R.L. or R.Sp. it is odd that he has set up his own climate consulting company and is using the B.E. project as a way to attract business. People should note that the Berkeley in the group’s title is just the name of the city he lives in, not UCB.

    From the student paper article: ““There are the skeptics – they’re not the consensus,” Muller explained. “There are the exaggerators, like Al Gore and Tom Friedman who tell you things that are not part of the consensus … (which) goes largely off of thermometer records.””

    No one is restricted to only repeating what there is a consensus on. It is reasonable to suggest that the flooding in Australia may have been related to AGW. Obviously there is not a consensus on an event that just happened.

    From the student paper article: “Muller came to the conclusion that temperature data – which, in the United States, began in the late 18th century when Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin made the first thermometer measurements – was the only truly scientifically accurate way of studying global warming.”

    If this is what Muller thinks, he is wrong. The sea ice and glacier changes would be noticed even if the thermometer had never been invented. So too with the many ecological changes. It is hard to ignore the crabs in Antarctica. As for extreme weather, if concern for AGW did not exist it unlikely the recent extreme weather events would cause us to suspect AGW – so I would agree with him there. But, since we do know AGW exists and will likely impact weather at some point you are not going to stop people from looking for a connection.

  27. David B. Benson says:

    Is this an LBL project or a UCB one?

  28. ianash says:

    Some points that may be relevant:

    – The Berkeley name is deliberately meant to give the imprimatur of LBL, which is also a ‘participating organisation’. Whether LBL are aware of this is debatable.

    – Muller Snr and Muller Jnr are also members of Muller & Associates (their private consulting firm). Also listed as ‘Technical Experts’ at Muller & Associates are Jonathan Wurtele and Arthur Rosenfeld. Hardly casting a wide net.

    – Not all donors are shown. Why not? Transparency please.

    – the real test will be whether they end up quibbling about small details when they reconfirm the findings of the other temperature studies or whether they can focus on the big picture. I have my doubts, given La Curry’s involvement.

    – will the study be published and peer reviewed? Or will it be an exercise in ‘post normal science’ (replete with drongos from WUWT, etc)

  29. David B. Benson says:

    Answering my own question, this seems to be a LBNL project:
    http://www.berkeleyearth.org/participating

  30. Edward says:

    My response is to feel bad for a classmate, Dr. Janet Gazior Lohmann, who happens to work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I have seen labs implode before, like the Night Vision Lab under the Nixon administration.

    Edward Greisch

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I suppose we can now judge how personally profitable Judith Curry’s apostasy has been for her. I mean, she won’t be performing this public service for free, will she?

  32. Rafael says:

    I work at Lawrence Berkeley Nat. Lab (LBNL) and I’m very worried that the lab is supporting something with ominous signs of being a possible farce. Muller got money for this project through an internal LBNL funding mechanism that is under the direct control of the Lab’s director. I’m thinking of contacting the director and alerting him of the possible damage to the lab’s image. He launched last year a big strategic plan to get the lab very involved in climate change research (what he calls “Carbon Cycle 2.0” – because we have completely changed the natural carbon cycle) so he surely won’t want to have LBNL associated with deniers and anti-science groups like the Koch Foundation.
    Besides the Koch connection, I’m troubled by the possible financial conflicts of interest arising from Muller having a consulting company related to climate and energy issues, and having his daughter as both CEO of the company and manager of the LBNL-sponsored project. The lab has very strong conflict of interest rules, so I’m surprised this was able to fly.

  33. Susan Anderson says:

    This is one of the more disgusting bits of news I’ve seen in a time that is not short of nauseating material. Thanks for posting it.

  34. Mickey says:

    #26 has some very good points. I would also add that a large number on both sides of the debate have a certain political ideology and only use the facts that suit their ideology. As for us not suspecting AGW without the thermometer, that depends also on what other technologies we had. If we didn’t have the modern means of transportation or internet, then yes I suspect that would be true as people would only notice what is happening in their area and most people cannot tell the difference between 1C or 2C despite the fact averaged over a long term globally it is quite significant. And he is also right that the temperature going up is the only thing we can say for sure. Yes global warming will cause an increase in certain types of disasters, but it could cause a decrease in others. For example, I suspect it would mean more floods but fewer droughts as warmer temperatures mean more evaporation so more precipitation. As for the hockey stick graph, I should note that the first IPCC report showed the Medieval warm period as being warmer than today, while several other charts show today’s warmth being the warmest in the past 1,000 years but only surpassing the MWP in the past 30 years and the MWP being clearly warmer than the Little Ice Age (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period) which shows several temperature reconstructions. In addition Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph showed a margin of error and today’s temperatures are outside the margin of error back to 1300 but within it before then as this widens as one goes back in time.

  35. Edward says:

    32. Rafael: Don’t do that. Keep the job instead, but look for another one. Whoever you tell, don’t tell Muller. You have already compromised your position. Get another position fast. Don’t report a crime to the criminal.

    If you are going to be a whistle blower, learn how to do it right. Turn King’s evidence, but only to the king. Find a Democratic senator out of state to report to. But don’t now, you blew it. You are going to have to be able to say honestly that it wasn’t you.

    I suggest you look for a job with the Department of Defense. It isn’t what you wanted, but you can keep the job for a while.

  36. Edward says:

    34. Mickey: “a large number on both sides of the debate have a certain political ideology” WRONG. Only the denialists have a political ideology. Learn what science is all about. Hint: Mother Nature has the ONLY vote.

    “it would mean more floods but fewer droughts” WRONG: More floods and MORE droughts. See:
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/20/ncar-daidrought-under-global-warming-a-review/

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.81/full

    “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series”  by Barton Paul Levenson, not yet published.

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/12/14/southwest-drought-global-warmin/

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/20/lester-brown-extreme-weather-climate-change-record-food-prices/

  37. steven mosher says:

    Ron
    “If you look at the graph their station count, you see a sharp drop in numbers in 1972. This corresponds to the drop of stations in the GSOD data. We’ve already taken a quick look at GSOD (here and here and here) and it doesn’t vary significantly from GHCN (as seen in CRUTEMP, NOAA, and GISTEMP) over the last 6 decades. (GSOD is vary sparse prior to ~1950). So, I don’t expect anything earth-shattering when it comes to the Berkley land records. Dr. Curry keeps dropping statements that she believes that sea surface data prior to WWII is ‘disasterous.’ Maybe we will see something new there.

    In short, I don’t think that this is an effort at creating a new data source, but rather a integration of existing data sources.”

    I find it rather odd that the people at WUWT and joe romm are in agreement on the new Berkeley effort. A while back Judith introduced me to these guys and I’ve been exchanging mails with them.

    On the methods. Ron, from my discussion with the chief scientist it appears that they are going to use a method akin to Nick Stokes/RomanM/Tamino. I think those of use with a background in statistics all agree that these methods are superior to the CRU method and GISS method. I would hope that the new effort at CRU would also junk there current approach and GISS would also do well to move on from their approach

    On the data. Your guess is correct, they are assembling all known sources. From my inquiries I can determine that they are also working with the data originators to extend some of the work we have done on metadata accuracy.

    I’ll know more in a couple weeks after a visit. Zeke is probably going to join me. Not sure how much we will be able to talk about, but they have made the rounds at all the major labs.

    folks should be aware that the global temperature record is not a climate science problem.

  38. Rob says:

    A recent NASA-GISS paper in Env. Sci. Tech., co-authored by James E. Hansen calls for the shutting down of all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030, in order to avoid the global warming caused by the emitted CO2.
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Kharecha_etal.pdf
    What effect would this specific actionable step actually have on global warming?
    The paper tells us that 1,994 billion kWh/year were generated from coal in 2009 and that the average CO2 emission is 1,000 tons CO2 per GWh generated.
    So by 2030 Hansen’s plan would reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 2 GtCO2 per year.
    Roughly half of this “stays” in the atmosphere (with the rest disappearing into the ocean, the biosphere or outer space) so the annual reduction after 2030 will be around 1 GtCO2/year and over the period from today to year 2100 the cumulative reduction would be 80.5 GtCO2.
    The mass of the atmosphere is 5,140,000 Gt.
    So the net reduction in atmospheric CO2 would be around 16 ppm(mass) or 10 ppmv.
    If we assume (as IPCC does) that by year 2100 the atmospheric CO2 level (without Hansen’s plan) will be around 600 ppmv (“scenario B1”), this means that with Hansen’s plan it will be 590 ppmv.
    Today we have 390 ppmv.
    Using IPCC’s 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C we have:
    Case 1 – no Hansen plan
    600 ppmv CO2
    ln(600/390) = 0.431
    ln(2) = 0.693
    dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.431 / 0.693 = 1.99
    Case 2 – Hansen plan implemented
    590 ppmv CO2
    ln(590/390) = 0.414
    ln(2) = 0.693
    dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.414 / 0.693 = 1.91C
    So Hansen’s plan will result in a total reduction of global temperature by year 2100 of 0.08C.
    But what will this non-measurable reduction of global temperature cost?
    The total, all-in capital cost investment to replace 1,994 billion kWh/year capacity with the least expensive alternate (current nuclear fission technology) is between $4,000 and $8,000 per installed kW (say $6,000 on average). [Note: If we replace it with wind or solar, it will cost several times this amount per generated kWh, due in part to the low on-line factor.]
    1,994 billion kWh/year at a 90% on-line factor represents an installed capacity of:
    1994 / 8760 * .9 = 0.251 billion kWh
    This equals an investment cost of 0.251 * 6,000 = $1.5 trillion
    Globally some 6,700 billion kWh/year are generated from coal (around 3.4 times as much as in the USA).
    So shutting down all the world’s coal-fired plants by 2030 would cost $5 trillion and result in 0.27C reduced warming by year 2100.

  39. eadler says:

    I think this has the makings of an inside job. Muller raised some money from the Novim group, probably with the help of his ex graduate student, Robert Rhode, who worked there for a year after completion of his thesis. Muller’s consulting group has a lot of energy industry clients. He also raised money from the Koch Brothers. Then he hires his daughter, who is the CEO of his consulting group to run the effort.

    It may be that some good will come of this, but there is no evidence that increasing the number of stations is going to make a big difference in the recent data on global warming. There is a great deal of agreement between the two satellite based temperature data bases and the 3 existing thermometer data bases. In addition, Tamino has shown that the reduction in number of stations does not seem to have affected the graph of global temperature average for recent time periods.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/all-that-data/

    This has the air of a boon doogle.