Site: Trust, yet verify

Slant: Sceptic

Active: yes


Topics in which I have an interest are: catastrophic anthropogenic global warming & climate change, renewable energy sources, science communication, alarmism, media,… but especially the view of the layman in these issues.

Recent Articles

Trust, yet verify: “Energy” or “Electricity”, that is the question

When I was watching the NOS news flash in which the news anchor confused “electricity” with “energy needs” (see previous post), I initially assumed that this probably just was an unfortunate mistake, but when I went back to the tweet and scrolled down, I found this comment (translated from Dutch): I have a strong suspicion […]

2018-11-11 12:29   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Electricity is (only part of) energy demand

A couple days ago, I came across this tweet documenting a statement from a news anchorman of the Dutch state television (NOS). He made the claim that “Solar panels provide about 2% of our energy needs” [of the Netherlands] (translated from Dutch): No, @NOS, solar panels do not provide “about 2% of our energy needs”. […]

2018-11-04 23:57   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Meaningless metrics, episode umpteen

We got some pretty confusing information in the last few weeks. On the one hand, we got to hear that there is no long term vision for energy policy by our politicians and that this leads to the increased risk of having blackouts in winter. We were in this situation before. In the last several […]

2018-10-11 11:52   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Solar and wind power through the eyes of an investor

It is the time of the year again. Autumn had just started and the media was flooded with stories about possible power failures this winter. Under the current circumstances a power failure seems rather plausible. Nuclear power delivers 50-60% of our electricity and six of the seven nuclear reactors will be scheduled for maintenance this […]

2018-10-02 14:29   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The Sahara or not the Sahara, that is the question

Another thing that I wanted to write about in the solar-and-wind-will-green-the desert story is the region that was modeled by the researchers. I understood from the BBC article that the researchers distinguished two regions: the Sahara and the Sahel. Which puzzled me at the time. These are two distinct regions. The Sahara is a desert, […]

2018-09-23 12:29   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Large-scale wind and solar power ‘could green the Sahara’

That is the promising headline of a BBC news article. They referred to a paper in Science from the University of Illinois. Lead author Yan Li explains that they modelled what would happen if (really) huge parts of the Sahara desert are covered by renewable energy sources. They calculated that if 9 million km2 of […]

2018-09-15 19:06   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: We are doomed!

We are doomed! I kid you not. We are doomed! This is how the onehundredmonths.org campaign page looked like in its heyday: The button “Read the report” goes to the New Economics Foundation where you can download the 100 months – Technical note document that explained the urgency (my emphasis): O M G, they made […]

2018-09-03 19:30   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Record hunting continues: a contribution of … 85%!

Hopefully it is not getting boring by now, this is another post on the meaningless metric of contribution of solar and wind. For those who have had enough of it, some reassurance, it will probably be the last on this subject and I will keep it as short as possible. In this post, I am […]

2018-08-26 21:37   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: A new record: 0.016% contribution of solar and wind to total load!

Can’t get enough of the (meaningless) metric of record contribution of solar and wind to total load. This time, I will go hunting for another such record myself, using the exact same data that leads to that cheered record. Remember from previous posts that the claim was made that Belgian solar and wind contributed 45% […]

2018-08-19 22:04   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Solar and wind: some suggestions on how to inflate the numbers

The previous post focused on the contribution-of-solar-and-wind-to-total-load metric as used by our Flemish Minister of Energy. In short, there was a lot of electricity production by solar and wind on a Saturday afternoon (when electricity consumption is traditionally low) leading to a 45% contribution by those two power sources to total load. This was praised

2018-08-12 22:59   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Yet another meaningless metric: contribution of solar and wind to total load

“A new record for solar and wind”. This is stated in a tweet by our Flemish Minister of Energy: The hashtag “stroomversnelling” (the Dutch word for “rapids” and used in expressions it roughly means “speeding up” or “moving faster”) and he often uses it in relation to his policies. So, do I understand it correctly

2018-08-04 19:29   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Climate deniers are obviously incredibly influential … obviously?

The most surprising claim in the Guardian article “There are genuine climate alarmists, but they’re not in the same league as deniers” is that the deniers are influential. But before we go into that, let’s start with the first paragraph of that article (my emphasis): Those who debunk climate change misinformation often face a dilemma.

2018-07-29 22:58   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The cost of debunking “climate alarmists”

The starting point of the Guardian article “There are genuine climate alarmists, but they’re not in the same league as deniers” is a tweet from Richard Betts (screenshot taken from the article): Betts writes that he considers skepticalscience political because their “misinformers” page doesn’t include those on the climate action side. Culminating in the question…

2018-07-21 12:47   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: “Genuine climate alarmists” spreading misinformation?

At the beginning of this week, I had my coffee-almost-spoiled-my-keyboard moment when I read a The Guardian article titled “There are genuine climate alarmists, but they’re not in the same league as deniers“. There were some surprising claims in this article and while writing this post, it became rather long, so I will split this

2018-07-15 22:25   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The doctor’s analogy: people defer to the expert consensus of climate scientists

Another term that I recently learned is “False Equivalence” (when two things are proposed as being equal, although there are substantial differences between the two). Reading the Skeptical Science article “97% consensus on global warming” that I discussed in previous posts, I spotted one right away. It is the good ol’ doctor’s analogy. This is

2018-07-01 22:18   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Oreskes 2004 and Peiser

As mentioned in previous post on the consensus article in skepticalscience, there was an entry explaining the Oreskes 2004 paper. In the article, it was presented as “Oreskes 2004 and Peiser”. Which was an odd thing. Peiser didn’t write the paper together with Oreskes (otherwise it would be “Oreskes and Peiser, 2004). At the contrary,

2018-06-24 21:54   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: GW = AGW = CAGW?

As a non-native English speaker, I often encounter new words. One such word is “equivocation” (using the same word for different things or the use of such word in multiple senses throughout an argument, leading to a false conclusion). The first time I heard about it, I recognized it as something that is frequently used

2018-06-09 11:27   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The impact of that “exponentially growing” capacity of solar PV and wind on electricity generation in Australia

In previous posts, I several times made the remark that installed capacity is not a good measure to define the success of solar and wind energy. Those remarks were the reaction on the claims of Blakers and Stocks that solar PV and wind energy are “growing exponentially”, that they are “on the path of dominance”

2018-05-28 20:16   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: When the relevant data doesn’t fit the narrative, just use other data that will and suggest that the relevant data fits even better

A graph that caught my attention in the “100% renewable electricity in Australia” paper by Blakers and Stocks was this one: It shows growth of the installed capacity of solar PV and wind compared with other energy sources between 2014 and 2016. The remarkable increase of solar energy stood out, it almost doubled in three

2018-05-21 11:26   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: 100% renewable electricity at “low cost”: the more costs are not accounted for, the “cheaper” it will get

It is not unusual in alternative energy communication to ignore or minimize its negative sides. This is no different in the Conversation article on solar PV and wind being on track of replacing fossil-fuels within two decades as discussed in the last two posts. Halfway the article there is the only admission that there might

2018-05-17 19:40   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The average of a decreasing trend extrapolated as an exponential growth in the future

While writing previous post, I got intrigued by the graph representing the electricity generation forecast until 2032, especially that yellow line representing the exponential growth of solar PV and wind. To recapitulate, this is the graph I am talking about: The authors claim that this graph represents: Current world electricity generation trends, extrapolated to 2032

2018-05-05 20:14   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades (define “all”)

Solar PV and wind are getting so cheap and more abundant that they are on track to entirely displace fossil fuels worldwide by 2032. This remarkable claim is made in The Conversation article titled Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades. It is a remarkable

2018-04-24 20:37   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Finding unprecedented high resolution values in a low resolution dataset

In previous post, I discussed a graph that suggested that the CO2 and CH4 levels in the atmosphere are unprecedented in the last 800,000 years and proposed that it is misleading to compare high resolution data with low resolution data. After I published that post, I wondered whether I could illustrate this with an example.

2018-04-14 21:51   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The good old times when carbon dioxide and methane levels as well as temperatures were low

The previous post was about “the most popular contrarian argument” according to skepticalscience (“climate changes before, so current climate change is natural”) and what they seem to consider a live example of such a claim. I then proposed in that post that it actually was not a good example of what they want to prove.

2018-04-08 18:57   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The pitfall of Cook’s “simple” six-step critical thinking process

There is this statement in the introduction of the Cook et al 2018 paper that caught my eye: This paper introduces key critical thinking concepts and outlines a straightforward process for identifying reasoning errors that allows for people who lack expertise in climate science to confidently reject certain denialist arguments. In a way, I can

2018-03-24 22:29   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Define “AGW”

Spread over the Cook et al 2018 paper are the terms “anthropogenic climate change” and “anthropogenic global warming”. It is also mentioned a in table S2 of the supplementary material. I assume that “anthropogenic global warming” means that global temperatures are rising and humans have an impact. This seems to be supported by the consensus

2018-03-17 13:23   Click to comment


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