Green Weenie of the Year: Mark Jacobson

It is tempting to award Mark Jacobson of Stanford University the All-Time Green Weenie Award. Jacobson is the charlatan who says that the United States can supply 100 percent of its energy needs by the year 2050 with wind and solar power, along with some pumped hydro storage (as if environmentalists will sign off on the hundreds of dams and pipelines such a system would require). “No natural gas, biofuels, nuclear power, or stationary batteries are needed,” Jacobson asserted in 2015. His scenarios depend on lots of preposterous assumptions along with wishful thinking that would make every Pollyanna blush.

We noted here back in June that Jacobson’s flim-flam was dealt a hammer blow from a review in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by 21 highly respected academic energy experts that passed through extra layers of editorial and peer review because of Jacobson’s pre-emptive complaints. The review made clear that Jacobson’s work is unserious. Here’s the climax of the summary:

In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

In plain English, what the review says is: Jacobson’s work is a joke.

Rather than rebut his critics and bolster his own thesis with revised modeling or better founded assumptions, Jacobson has decided instead to sue his critics for $10 million:

Mark Z. Jacobson, a Stanford University professor who has prominently contended that the United States can fully power itself with wind, water and solar energy, is suing the National Academy of Sciences and the lead author of a study published in its flagship journal that criticized Jacobson’s views — pushing an already bitter academic dispute into a courtroom setting.

The suit, which asks for more than $10 million in damages and retraction of the study, charges that lead author Christopher Clack “knew and was informed prior to publication that many of the statements in the [paper] were false.” It adds that the NAS “knowingly and intentionally published false statements of fact” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences despite being aware of Jacobson’s complaints. . .

Clack and his colleagues published a lengthy response to Jacobson’s complaints in June, disagreeing about the point on hydropower and much else. Jacobson’s study “has been shown very clearly to contain a large number of fundamental errors,” the response said.

Nothing says “I have confidence in my work” more than a lawsuit against your critics. Or maybe Jacobson didn’t want Michael Mann to be the undisputed champion of bringing whinny litigation against critics.

The legal filing says “Dr. Clack’s actions have proximately caused, and continue to proximately cause, damage to Dr. Jacobson. . . The publication of the Clack article has exposed Dr. Jacobson to ridicule and has injured him in his reputation.” Indeed it has, because it results in Jacobson getting our coveted Grand Prize Green Weenie of 2017 Award. Here’s to hoping he will sue us, too.

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