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: 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 22:51   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The good old times when carbon dioxide and methane levels as well as temperatures where 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 19:57   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

Trust, yet verify: Decreasing demand for natural gas power thanks to wind and solar?

At the beginning of this month, I found an article in a Flemish newspaper that seemed to be inspired on the gas deficit alarm from the UK National Grid. It was titled “Renewable energy gets us though the winter cold”. This is how the story goes: the very cold February of this year did not

2018-03-10 22:59   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Learning critical thinking by following uncritically

When I read the new Cook et al 2018 paper for the first time, the one thing that stood out was that the example arguments were simplified versions of skeptical arguments, stripped down of any nuance and context, therefor not representative anymore. I already foresaw many posts in my future about these fabrications… In the

2018-02-25 19:20   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Video abstract of the Cook et al 2018 paper: nice idea, but low on substance

In the beginning of this month, the new paper of Cook et al (John Cook et al 2018 Environ. Res. Lett. 13 024018) was published. I was quite busy around that time, so it was only when I was finalizing my last post that I suddenly realized that I didn’t have a look at it

2018-02-23 00:08   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Projecting sea level 300, nah, 1000 years in the future

On the same day that I published the post on the IPCC, the political organization that is mistaken for a scientific organization, an article was published in a Belgian newspaper, titled Belgian expert: “It’s inevitable: large parts of Flanders are going to be under water”, in which exactly the same error was stated (translated from

2018-02-18 21:26   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The IPCC, the world’s leading scienti…, err, political body

A new communication handbook for IPCC scientists is published. It is compiled by Climate Outreach and was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group I Technical Support Unit. They want this handbook out “ahead of the IPCC’s 1.5 degrees special report later this year”. Interesting. The handbook also comes with a video

2018-02-11 13:44   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Wind and solar in Belgium: among the best in the EU, maybe even the world?

From the department of everyone-gets-a-price comes this tweet (translated from Dutch):: Also in the field of wind energy, we are currently at the top in Europe Huuuurrrraaaah! Belgium is at the top in the EU for something! A strange detail: the third bar is highligthed, but this is the bar that represents the value of

2018-02-02 23:47   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Do our politicians realize that wind and solar are intermittent power sources?

Something I have wondered for a long time: do the politicians who want to go for 100% wind & solar realize that these power sources are intermittent and therefor balancing and/or storage is needed in the transition? When I look at the competencies of the Minister of Energy, his crew and the energy experts among

2018-01-28 20:41   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Building a nuclear power plant for less than one coffee a day?

The European branch of Politico is suggesting a new way of presenting the cost of EU membership: “The Cappuccino Index“. Politico ranked the countries according to how much citizens pay for the EU and came to the conclusion that the contribution of the EU countries to the EU is less than the price of a

2018-01-20 22:33   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Renewables covered 100% of energy consumption in Germany (for about 45 minutes)

A curious infographic from the twitter timeline of the Flemish greens (translated from Dutch): Historic For the first time, renewable energy delivered 100% of electricity consumption in Germany That struck me by surprise. I was quite busy in the last few days with another project, so I clearly missed the news. My first reaction was:

2018-01-14 22:25   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Who cares about a lack of PV in December when there is plenty of wind and more sun to come in the coming months?

On the last day of 2017, our Minister of Energy (who is fiercely promoting solar energy) posted a tweet to thank all people who installed solar panel on their during 2017. He got a prompt reaction from someone asking how much electricity those solar panels produced in December. The Minister of Energy replied with this

2018-01-06 21:50   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Could a nuclear power plant be closed when households save 1 percent of energy?

The subject of this post is a statement made in a current affairs program on the Flemish television back in February. In that program there was a debate on smart meters and one of the arguments against was that a savings of only 1% was expected which would not be in proportion to the costs.

2017-12-28 22:21   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: China and India: the new “climate leaders”?

It was with quite some surprise that I read this tweet written by Joeri Thijs (spokesman of Greenpeace Belgium) (translated from Dutch): India and China are gradually becoming the new climate leaders. Europe urgently needs to step it up a notch. I was surprised reading such a statement, especially related to China which has by

2017-12-24 21:57   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The “We Close Doel” campaign … and the result is?

Almost two years ago, I wrote a series of posts on the “We Close Doel” campaign of the Flemish Greens. To recap, they ran this campaign to “break the monopoly” of energy provider Electrabel (the owner of the nuclear plants in Doel). They wanted to close the two smallest reactors (Doel 1 and 2) and

2017-12-01 20:53   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: “Low electricity prices” because of the growth of “sustainable energy”?

In line with previous post, there is this article from a Dutch newspaper titled “Engie can not pay for major maintenance of gas-fired power plants anymore” (translated from Dutch). Philip Pouillie (CEO of Engie Benelux) explains that his company can’t afford to pay for the periodic maintenance of their gas-fired power plants anymore, delaying them

2017-11-26 15:29   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Claim: contract prices for solar and wind power increasingly comparable or lower than generation cost of newly built gas and coal power plants

In the opening a new era for solar power news item discussed in previous post, there was this rather puzzling paragraph (my emphasis): The deployment in solar PV and wind last year was accompanied by record-low auction prices, which fell as low as 3 cents per kwh (or kilowatt hour). Low announced prices for solar

2017-11-19 22:00   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Photovoltaic additions surpassing the net growth in coal: the birth of a new era of solar?

When I read the Bloomberg news article about solar capacity growing 50%, I was pretty disturbed. I was even more disturbed when I read its source: the IEA news article Solar PV grew faster than any other fuel in 2016, opening a new era for solar power. I could understand that the Bloomberg journalist might

2017-11-05 13:47   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: “Fifty percent growth of photovoltaics” in perspective of total energy consumption

Reading previous post one could remark that a 33% growth in photovoltaics (PV) is already an excellent result and rather close to 50% anyway, so what is the big deal about the IEA inflating a 33% growth to 50%? I think that none of the two numbers is representative for the impact PV has on

2017-10-28 23:47   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Solar grew by 50%: compared to what exactly?

In line with previous post (on the claim that solar is to surpass nuclear by the end of the year), there is this Bloomberg article titled Solar Grew Faster Than All Other Forms of Power for the First Time. A new IEA report claimed that: solar powered by photovoltaics, or PVs, grew by 50 percent,

2017-10-19 22:42   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Solar to “surpass” nuclear by end 2017

Another tweet that grabbed my attention this week: The text of the tweet: Speed of energy transition every day more jaw dropping. Solar to surpass nuclear by end 2017. That seems odd. In previous post I looked at the share of the different energy sources in worldwide primary energy use in 2006 and found that

2017-10-15 13:59   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Is Europe “quitting” fossil fuels “thanks to” solar energy?

Stumbled upon this tweet of Damien Ernst on solar energy: The text of the tweet: The map that shows that if Europe can quit fossil fuels thanks to solar energy, then the US can do it too. #ParisAgreement That map shows the sunshine hours in Europe compared to the United States and it is clear

2017-10-09 20:28   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: European fossil fuel “subsidies”: scraping the bottom of the barrel

A rather confusing news article from the Guardian written: European countries spend billions a year on fossil fuel subsidies, survey shows by Fiona Harvey. Eleven European countries were surveyed and it was found that those subsidies totalled to a huge number (my emphasis): Governments of 11 European nations are providing subsidies totalling more than £80bn

2017-10-03 21:51   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Belgium fossil-fuel free in nine … err … ten steps

While looking for more information on the fossil-fuel free in nine steps campaign (see previous post), I encountered a similar looking campaign: ten measures to ban fossil energy to the past. It was similar because nine of the ten measures/steps were identical in both campaigns, though they were placed in a different order. Unlike the

2017-09-29 21:10   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: Belgium fossil-fuel free in nine steps

According to the Flemish Green party, Belgium can become fossil-fuel free and in a video they identified nine steps (translated from Dutch) to do that. When I found this article this week on their website, I was rather curious how they envisioned becoming fossil-free. Until then, I came across vague claims. Unfortunately, this campaign is

2017-09-20 22:04   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: IPCC AR6: continue assessing the science of climate change in line with policymakers’ priorities

This week, I came across this tweet from the IPCC: Apparently, there is (in the meantime “was”) a meeting in Montreal to agree the outlines of AR6. Interesting. However, it was the quote of Youba Sokona that caught my attention (my emphasis): “This meeting will pave the way for IPCC scientists to continue assessing the

2017-09-10 21:31   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The fifty-times-more-deaths-by-weather news item: the contribution of the “expert”

In previous two posts, I explained a television news item explaining the scientific paper in which was proposed that there would be fifty times more deaths in the period 2070 to 2100. This post will focus on the dubious contribution of the expert in that news item. It was not really clear to me why

2017-09-03 23:00   Click to comment

Trust, yet verify: The one and only solution

Continuing from previous post in which I described the start of a television news item on the modeled impacts of future weather on Europe. After that introduction, an expert was brought up to explain the paper a bit more, in this case Serge De Gheldere. As far as I know, he is an engineer (specialized

2017-08-21 00:06   Click to comment

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