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: Solar and wind replace nuclear?

A little detour from my 6-year-of-blogging series. This blog documented several meaningless (or even wrong) remarks from our (now former) Flemish Minister of Energy. I was a bit sad when I heard that he chose to be mayor of Ostend in stead of Minister of Energy, but apparently he doesn’t have to be Minister to […]

2019-03-25 00:58   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Who am I to say?

When I started this blog back in 2013, I had several questions. The most prominent was how I, as an interested member of the public, could assess who is right and who is wrong. At that time, I also was looking for information on how laymen/interested members of the public could figure this out. Initially, […]

2019-03-10 21:52   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Recovering my senses

In the beginning of October 2008, I was just a simple green person, minding his own business, voting for the Flemish green party since my early twenties, believing that there was an agreement between scientists that global warming is bad, that we are responsible and that we should do something about it. That seemed perfectly […]

2019-02-20 11:21   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Six candles to blow!

This blog turns six! When I started it back then in 2013, I couldn’t imagine that this blog would still be active for so long and that I would write more than 400 posts in the meanwhile. There certainly was no shortage of inspiration. On the contrary, there were several posts that I started, but […]

2019-02-13 13:41   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Feed the debate with (some) facts (and loads of assumptions)

Belgian scientists wrote an open letter in which they ask for better climate policies. This open letter is a reaction to the several climate marches that were organized in the last weeks by schoolchildren skipping school. In a newspaper article (Dutch ahead), one of the organizers claimed that they want to feed the “climate debate […]

2019-02-10 22:18   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Belgian offshore wind produces as much as four nuclear plants

Last Monday, our Prime Minister gave a speech on the occasion of the Belgian Diplomatic Days (Dutch ahead). In his speech, he claimed that a lot has been achieved by the current Government and, as an example, he made the remarkable claim that the Belgian wind farms in the North Sea produce the same as […]

2019-02-01 23:09   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Cook: the 97% consensus on “climate change is bad”

It has been a long time that I read something of John Cook. I recently came across the National Center for Science Education blog post in which he was interviewed. The post is titled Got Climate Change Misconceptions? John Cook Can Help and dates from the beginning of this year. This “help” seems to be […]

2019-01-23 14:48   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Electric car registrations: a 2% increase of something tiny is still tiny

We have a new Flemish Minister of Energy since two days. As a result of the local elections of October last year, the previous Minister became mayor of his home town Ostend. That is a bit sad, he had the habit of enthusiastically sprouting meaningless claims about energy that were very easily debunked. I wrote […]

2019-01-11 20:30   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Realists need not apply…

Continuing from previous two posts on the “interview” of Nic Balthazar, something that was clear from the beginning was that Balthazar was not very keen on “realism”. I certainly can understand why and will explain it later in this post. One of those realists that Balhazar looked down on is a certain “climate critic” (whatever […]

2018-12-30 21:25   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The doctor’s analogy again: the climate is like a child with a diagnosed cancer

The doctor’s analogy is frequently used in climate change communication. In most cases, it goes like this: “Wouldn’t you go with the advises of your doctor when he tells you …?” or “When you have cancer would you go to a cardiologist?”. Last Sunday I saw that doctor enter the analogy in a different way […]

2018-12-26 21:00   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: A falling coffee mug and the latest IPCC report

Some believe that we, due to rising temperatures as a result of our emissions, might be close to a tipping point and will experience irreversible changes for the worse. One of those is Nic Balthazar. He made the claim as a guest in the current affairs show “De 7de dag” (the 7th day) of last […]

2018-12-20 23:33   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Renewables are so cheap (define “cheap”)

Is renewable energy cheap? I often heard this claim in the past, mostly from politicians who want to justify their policies, but also from scientists. I then assumed that not all costs were counted, but had no clue what their specific arguments were. The claim was also made in the current events lecture “A Sustainable […]

2018-12-15 21:50   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Solar and wind power doing “extremely well” in Belgium (while facing blackouts)

Metaforum, an interdisciplinary think-tank of the University of Leuven, organized a Current Events Lecture on a Sustainable Energy Supply for Belgium last Monday (the video is available here). The incentive for this lecture was the unavailability of the majority of our nuclear power plants and the spectre of an electricity shortage this winter. The speakers […]

2018-12-02 23:35   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: A website actually powered by solar power

Low-tech magazine renewed the design of its website. At such not a world shocking event, but this design reflects the vision of the low-tech magazine and that is where it gets really interesting. They understood that the internet became a rapidly growing power consumer, power that for a large part is created by using conventional […]

2018-11-25 23:41   Click to comment

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


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