This EcoNonsense Has To Stop

May 2nd, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

PF-eco-image1I was watching a Ford commercial last night that highlighted their “EcoBoost” engine technology, which mostly involves turbocharging (nothing new) which allows higher efficiency, and thus greater power output with smaller engine displacements.

That “ecoboost” term sounded familiar, so I went and looked on my washing machine, and found this:

I have no idea what the setting does. I’m pretty sure my washer isn’t turbocharged. And it can’t mean “less water” because the washer already fails to wash my clothes as it is.

I have to wonder how many marketing meetings are now dominated by discussion of how to work “eco” into new (or existing) products. Everyone wants to Save The Earth™, so if we can do that while we are buying more stuff, so much the better.

So, where did all this ecobabble come from? Well, as I recall the first ecoword was “ecology”, which from the Greek root words means “the study of annoying stuff”.

We now have eco-friendly eco-schools with eco-learning for eco-kids. Eco-cars, eco-news, eco-warriors, eco-awards. The list goes on eco nauseum.

The eco-trend does not seem to be nearing its eco-end, either. According to Google Trends, the term “eco” has been at an eco-high for several eco-years now.

The annoying part is that little if any eco-good is done with any eco-product, I suspect. History has shown that if we become less wasteful of some commodity, we will find a way to use more of it. As car engines become more fuel-efficient, we buy cars with bigger engines or we take longer drives.

Money we save on one thing ends up getting spent on something else, which inevitably uses more resources.

British company EasyJet has unveiled a new ecoJet technology to improve the energy efficiency of jet travel. I suppose if rocket engines become sufficiently efficient, we will all be taking eco-tourism trips into low Earth orbit.

Just think of how much energy we will be saving then!

93 Responses to “This EcoNonsense Has To Stop”

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  1. dave says:

    Well, the picture/logo says it all; it is completely aboveboard. Their product is making more CO2, which is making a tree grow – at the North Pole! And somehow it has turned the sea from blue to green, and abolished all clouds.

    • Johan says:

      I’m more worried about the two new moons, Entertaining and Comics.

    • Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

      “Sky of Blue, and Sea of Green….in our Yellow…..Submarine!!!!!”

    • Willywolfe says:

      All of this eco-crap is out of control. I have a low flow toilet that I have to flush twice and a washer that I always use an extra rinse cycle and still sometimes have to run twice to get clothes clean. When I do the math I get 60% of the water times two equals 120% of the water I used in the past. How is that saving anything?

  2. Tom says:

    Love it, Royseph!

  3. Myron says:

    Ford originally used the term Powerboost for its new series of turbocharged, small displacement engines. Then some idiot figured it would be great PR to change the name to EcoBoost.

  4. ossqss says:

    Look at LEED construction subsidies if you really want to see your tax dollars being tossed around. If it is LEED certified, you paid for a good chunk of it at a much higher price.

  5. Johan says:

    On a more serious note, the so-called (energy) rebound effect is very real, and mostly has to do with – OUCH – ECO-nomics. Every (sane) person strives for a certain standard of living, but cannot always afford that. One way to make things cheaper is to improve (energy / resource) efficiency, because one uses (and pays less) resources for the same amount of service delivered. So, more efficiency means more money to spend on the same or other services. But there are satiation levels. E.g., how much cleaner than clean can your clothes get ? Which is why rebound effects are more predominant in developing countries,where standards of living are much lower. Which is one reason why efficiency improvements are so important – it is a means for improving living standards in those countries. Which has not stopped ECO-fascists, sorry ecologists, like Wackernagel & Rees to state that for this very reason the benefits of technological innovations have to be taxed away.
    And blah blah blah ….

    • David A says:

      “On a more serious note, the so-called (energy) rebound effect is very real….”

      Sometimes, sometimes not.

      In the US, per capita electricity use peaked in 2007, and is now 6% lower.

      Per capita energy use peaked in 1979, and is now 15% lower, while energy use per dollar of real GDP has been declining since at least 1973.

      Data via US EIA.

      • Johan says:

        To analyze the economy-wide or macro-level (energy) rebound effect, one would need a decent macro-economic model, but we all know what economic models and CAGW models have in common, right ? They both excel in explaining afterwards why their predictions didn’t come true.

      • David A says:

        Why can’t the rebound effect be examined from the EIA statistics?

        They show per capita energy use declining, even as efficiency increases. That goes against Jevons Paradox.

        • Johan says:

          The core idea of the energy rebound effect is that technological changes (in particular energy efficiency improvements) lead to behavioral changes (basically, more consumption & hence more production). In other words, the hypotheses is that increased energy efficiency ’causes’ higher GDP. EIA statistics cannot prove neither disprove that contention. E.g., if I tell you that without (autonomous and/or price-induced) energy saving innovations GDP would have been considerably lower, I can’t prove that I’m right, but neither can you prove that I’m wrong. Not with the EIA statistics anyway.
          One should not confuse absolute levels of energy consumption with “intensities”, such as energy consumption per unit of GDP, or energy consumption per capita. As efficiency increases, energy consumption per unit of GDP (i.e. “intensity”) goes down, but (hypothetically) decreasing energy intensity levels imply increases in (absolute levels of) GDP. As GDP goes up, energy consumption does too, but obviously not at the same rate as would have been the case without the efficiency improvements.
          The “measure” of energy rebound is by how much the “real” energy savings are lower or higher compared to the energy savings one would have “expected” without the efficiency induced behavioral changes.
          Jevons’ paradox is an extreme case, where energy consumption levels after the innovation are higher than before the innovation, and as a direct result of that particular innovation. In other words, Jevon’s paradox suggests that energy efficiency savings would be negative (!), rather than positive albeit lower than “expected”. That would indeed seem unlikely for a developed country like the U.S., but not so for developing countries.

          Again, it all depends on the exact relationship between GDP growth and energy consumption, and no macro-economic model I’m aware of has serious answers to that question.

          • Johan says:


            In other words, Jevons’ paradox suggests that energy savings would be negative (!), rather than positive albeit lower than “expected”

        • David A says:

          “In other words, the hypotheses is that increased energy efficiency ’causes’ higher GDP.”

          No it doesn’t. It says that increased energy effiency will be accompanied by more energy usage.

          That was once happening in the US, but it hasn’t been happening for a few decades now.

          I only have monthly EIA data going back to Dec 1973, and FRED data for GDP at least back to then, but energy intensity — how much energy it takes to generate a dollar of real GDP — has been decreasing since the beginning. It’s now 56% lower than in 1973.

          Meanwhile, energy used per capita peaked in April 1979, and is now 15% lower.

          These data do not support an energy rebound over the last 3-4 decades.

          • Johan says:

            “No it doesn’t. It says that increased energy effiency will be accompanied by more energy usage.”

            No, one more last time, that is definitely not the true definition of energy rebound. The definition of rebound is that “real” energy savings will be lower than the ones “expected”, ceteris paribus (i.e. without the behavioral changes caused by energy efficiency improvements).
            Again, you are narrowing down the definition to its most extreme case, the so-called “backfire” or Jevons’ paradox, where at the macro-level (not at the micro-level) energy savings actually become negative as a result of efficiency improvements.
            The data don’t support a backfire effect for the U.S., but they do not prove that there weren’t any rebound effects in the broader sense either.

  6. stevek says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    The whole Eco idea is to make people feel less guilty. so they buy product.

    Then you have people like Leonardo DiCrapio pretending to care about environment while at same time using private jet to taxi between New York and LA.

  7. mpainter says:

    Of course, the marketing types were bound to cash in on the eco-lunacy; that’s what they are paid to do.
    My rule of thumb: stay away from products designed to take money from dummies lest you wind up feeling like a dummy, yourself.

  8. jimc says:

    Don’t think about it Doc. It’s too much effort and your friends will laugh if you’re different. Just use it a feel good about yourself.

  9. Skeptikal says:

    General Motors have had “ECOTEC”™ engine technology for quite a few years… I guess Ford is finally catching up with the new ECO-world.

  10. Stephen Richards says:

    It’s the reason that scams such as the AGW one take off. Entreprises exist to make money and good luck to them but in order to do that they are always looking for bandwagons to jump on. They are good for profits. They will ride the wagon for as long as it doesn’t hurt them. When the pain begins they jump and leave the rest of us with the bills.

    Shell oil is a good example. AGW brought an opportunity for them to get on board with the greenies, buy them conferences on saving the planet in plush hotels around the world. Why ? because they have massive investments in low CO² gas. Force countries to dump coal and gas becomes more sellable, more expensive. Block fracking and your market gets even better.

    • Mystery says:

      You are exactly right and i will add that Shell can not compete in unconventional onshore plays bc high safety standards and threat of law suites make fracking a big risk and less economic compared to smaller companies. So strong regulation is a good thing for them and most majors. Also, as a European company they have nothing to loose from a carbon tax that in my opinion impacts the US the most so they publicly support a CO2 tax and have even hired a subject matter expert with a book about the need for major CO2 cuts for the environment. As u say they are a very gas heavy company. Like all the rational thinkers on the subject, economists at the majors do the simple realistic math and realize the term alternative energy is a oxymoron bc there is no alternative to hydrocarbons except nuclear that can support a lifestyle anything like what the developed world is familiar with at a realistic cost. Shell is huge in wind and reality is it doesnt work without subsidies. That said the policy has created a safe place to work that sincerely tries to do the right think for the environment… so in the end it is a good thing. Plus preserving oil for the future is not a bad thing either… it is multi purpose and good to maintain reserves.

  11. geran says:

    “This EcoNonsense has to stop.”

    Dr. Roy, it gets much worse that that! There are pseudoscientists that believe the oceans will boil and the Earth will explode due to adding decimal fractions of a live-giving “spent fuel” to the atmosphere.

    Oh, and those are just the “Warmists”. The “Lukewarmers” believe the planet will explode, but the explosion will not be as big as the Warmists believe!

    You just can’t make this stuff up….

  12. don k says:

    I’m pretty sure that while some eco-whatever marketing/feature development is directed at perceived ecology issues, in some of it the ECO isn’t ECOlogy, it is ECOnomy. For example, my wife’s 2013 car has an ECO setting that delivers better fuel mileage at the cost of reduced acceleration.

    The latter seems to me no more objectionable than the rest of the marketing (i.e. professional lying) I’m subjected to 24/7.

  13. The way I understand it, turbocharging does not improve efficiency of an engine, it only improves the amount of power that an engine can deliver by compressing the air that goes into the engine. In fact, the way I understand it (I hope correctly), turbocharging slightly decreases efficiency of an engine because because its exhaust stroke does work on the exhaust for compressing air. Also, it seems to me that turbocharging (or any supercharging) requires a reduced compression ratio (or effective compression ratio, such as from ignition to maximum cylinder volume) for a given minimum fuel octane rating, and reduced compression ratio reduces efficiency.

    Something else that I remember from the early 1980s is that turbocharging allowed better fuel efficiency of cars that had good acceleration, because a smaller engine weighed less and allowed the car to weigh less for a given amount of engine power.

    I remember a car that someone in my family used to have at least 20 years ago, with a dashboard switch that selected between performance and fuel economy. I wonder if that switch enabled or bypassed a turbocharger.

    • jimc says:

      Long haul truckers go to wild extremes to improve fuel economy because it’s their major expense – air dams (including under the trailer), stiff tires, tractor/trailer gap drafting and end of trailer spoilers to cut drag – and turbo charging.

      • jimc says:

        For a diesel anyway, it’s a must.

        • rah says:

          Yes a turbo is a must these days on the big diesel engines in trucks. Some engines for certain applications have twin turbos. And you aren’t going too far with one of them when a turbo blows. I limped into the Volvo dealer in Laredo, TX at 3 mph only 15 miles after I blew a turbo. There was so much black smoke coming out the stack I figured the truck kinda looked like the Titanic rolling down the road. Turbos aren’t cheap either but you can figure on getting 600,000 mi out of one normally.

          The trucking business in general has also jumped on the green bandwagon. If you really look you can see the eco propaganda all over on some of them. Trailer manufacturers are into it too. Guess they figure “green” sells and the more BS you pump out about it the more likely the government is to leave you alone.

          The 2012 Volvo I was driving had an “econoroll” setting on it. The the 2015 Freightliner I now drive has an econo setting on it also. What it really means for both of them is that the truck is set up to more or less free wheel going down hill as the engine idles if your up to the speed set on the cruise control. It will let you freewheel up to 5 mph over the cruise setting and then the engine brake kicks in to try and keep you at that speed as you roll down hill.

          It really works pretty well at helping with fuel mileage and fuel is the single largest operating cost for a big truck.

    • Mark Luhman says:

      Turbocharging increases the fuel economy due to the fact you get more air into the combustion chamber allowing you to get more energy out of the fuel you use, there is less unburned fuel, on each combustion cycle.

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      Turbocharging can either increase power or improve fuel efficiency. With more air in the engine, you can put more fuel to increase power. Or just put more air without increasing fuel, the engine will burn less fuel for the same amount of power. Turbocharging uses the energy in exhaust gas to add engine power.

      Originally turbocharging was developed to increase power of racing cars. If the goal is to burn less fuel, turbo compounding is the alternative. It directly connects the exhaust turbine to the crankshaft. If the goal is more power, supercharging is more effective. It has no lag in power generation but consumes more fuel. That’s why dragsters use supercharger.

  14. If someone reduces energy consumption by improved energy efficiency of devices, I don’t see all of the money savings being spent to improve performance in a way that maintains energy consumption. For example, if my light bulbs, refrigerator, climate control equipment, or my computer equipment cost me less to run, at least some of the money that I save will go to things other than burning energy. Such as adding insulation to my home, improving the decor of my home or my car, getting a better bike or more tools for my workshop, or treating myself or my spouse to more toys or an extra movie.

  15. Roy Spencer says:

    All of which, Donald, requires more energy and more resources.

    • If I cause a movie theater to have two more seats occupied than otherwise, I don’t see that consuming as much energy as I would save if I reduced my electric bill enough to buy two movie theater tickets.

      • malph says:

        AH, but the popcorn !!!

      • Vincent says:

        I agree with Roy on this point. If you save money by reducing your electricity bill, you can’t be sure that the effect will be a reduction in total energy consumption unless you place that saved money under your bed and never spend it.

        If you spend the saved money on a couple of move theatre tickets, the theatre will make more profit and such increased profits might be spent on products that have used cheaper and/or more carbon-intensive energy than the energy you refrained from using in order to make your savings.

        • Getting back to the real world, if I want to warm my room to 20C and I get a heater that is twice as efficient, I don’t turn the dial up to 40C because it will now cost me the same bucks.

          • Vincent says:

            Perhaps we could say that the bottom line, in the final analysis, is that mankind’s material prosperity is directly related to the real cost of energy and the imaginative and clever ways we use such energy.

            More expensive energy in real terms equates to less productivity, if everything else remains the same. However, there is often a problem in defining the real cost of energy. We need to take into consideration all the negative and positive externalities associated with a particular source of energy, and to do that accurately we need to be totally objective.

            For example, on the one hand we have to include the cost of environmental damage and damage to health attributed to the coal industry, and on the other hand the beneficial effects of CO2 in greening the planet and increasing the yield of agricultural crops.

            However, such calculations might be impossibly complex, and that’s the problem

  16. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Worst of all is Leaf’s polar bear. And it’s a gawdawful car too.

  17. Words like “eco” and “sustainable” mean exactly nothing. I stumbled across a web site once showing off “sustainable” house designs and they were exactly the opposite of “sustainable” if you meant by that something sane, such as reduced heating and cooling requirements. Most of the houses had huge window areas – one had the entire side of the house as a giant window – very high ceilings (which might help with cooling but not heating) and large split level voids. Making the homes impossible to heat or cool efficiently.

  18. Manfred says:

    ‘Eco’ is a nauseating mantric colloquialism that has superseded ‘sustainable’ chiefly because it has half the number of syllables and is easier to insert before any word used by the Green brain-dead. It implies reflexive genuflection at the altar of Gaia, indeed much the same nodding motion as implied by the UN pre-defined term ‘climate change’, which has nothing to do with the literal use the words –

  19. Andrew_FL says:

    Roy, I thought I’d put this comment here since I’m not sure if you’d notice it if I went all the way back to your post introducing v6.0.

    I have some concerns about it, which I outline here:

    Essentially I thought there was pretty good reason to think UAH better handled the NOAA-12 transition than did RSS, but UAH now looks worse than RSS in that regard. I’m less sure about whether the drift in the AMSU period that makes UAH agree more with what I’d previously thought was a cooling bias in RSS, is actually a problem for v6.0. But the discontinuity in ca 1991-1995 looks really problematic. I was hoping you’d perhaps have some arguments why the previously published arguments for RSS’s discontinuity over that period were actually mistakes, especially since it was your team-especially John Christy-who first identified RSS’s discontinuity there.

  20. michael hart says:

    It mostly comes out of the marketing/advertising departments.

    I remember when I bought my first desk top computer. It had a go-faster “turbo” boost button on it.

    Of course what that really meant was that it had a button that would make it go slower than the normal clock speed so that incompatible slow devices could be connected. They just re-labeled ‘normal’ as “turbo”.

    A bit like “Our speakers go to 11.”

  21. nigel says:

    Andrew_L is awful worried about orbital considerations, and UAH versus RSS.

    Those mainly affect LTT – in a small way, at that (one or two tenths of a degree C).

    RSS and UAH have always agreed (to my satisfaction, not to thousandths of a degree) about MTT and LST. That is perfectly adequate for diagnosing whether the atmosphere is doing anything noteworthy. For the longer term (decades) we just need to keep an eye on the temperature change of the upper hundred meters of sea water. That seems to have has been rising, with a trend-rate of one two-hundredth of a degree C per year, for the 140 years between Challenger and Argo. Be very afraid.

    • Andrew_FL says:

      Nigel, last I checked, humans live in the lower atmosphere, not the upper ocean.

      • David A says:

        Andrew_FL says:
        “Nigel, last I checked, humans live in the lower atmosphere, not the upper ocean.”

        If you want play that game….humans also live on land. UAH (v6.0beta0) has the LT above global land warming at +0.19 C/decade. And it’s +0.20 C/decade over northern hemisphere land.

    • fonzarelli says:

      Nigel, Dr Spencer had this to say about ocean warming a while ago:

      RWS 1/25/15 3:04pm “The oceans have warmed, depending on the depth, by hundredths of a degree over the ~50 years they have been monitored, that’s all. It’s questionable whether the deep ocean warming is even real because it is so small, and the error bars on the measurement are large. The surface warming is larger than deep ocean warming, and likely real… But still less than the land warming.”

      Sounds like a dubious thing to be hanging public policy on, doesn’t it?

      • nigel says:

        I was being a little ironic, when I said that people should be very afraid of the warming in the annually mixed layer of the ocean, which has been (or, seems to have been) running at about 1/200 Degree C per year since my great-grandmother was born.

        It is possible that some people do not appreciate the significance of “annually mixed”. In summer, in mid-latitudes, the sun heats up a shallow layer of water at the surface. In winter, increased storminess stirs this layer further down. At all times, the sea is, naturally, cooling anyway by radiation and evaporation. The effect of each year’s imbalance (if any) in the annual heat budget of much of the ocean is therefore parceled out into a water column of some 100 meters depth. Of course, on longer time scales, any effect is spread out deeper and deeper by other mixing mechanisms – until, as Dr Spencer says, it becomes difficult even to detect.

        In the Cretaceous period, the ocean was warm all the way down. At present, most of it is barely above freezing. So it should continue to act as a heat sink for a bit longer.

        • fonzarelli says:

          Nigel, my thinking is that the ocean was at an equilibrium state a couple hundred years ago (as evidenced by no sea level rise before 1870 according to the ipcc). Since the surface temps have risen faster then the ocean on the whole, we should expect ocean temps to rise until an equilibrium is reached again. So even if all the land data, atmospheric data, and sea surface data should show cooling, we should still expect to see ocean warming for decades to come. Am i far off in my thinking here? Your input is greatly appreciated (so thanx in advance)…

          • nigel says:

            “Am I far off in my thinking here?”

            Well, the WHOLE ocean isn’t in temperature equilibrium yet*.
            Fullish mixing takes about a thousand years. Under the conditions you mention, the annually mixed layer would probably stop warming, and then settle in to cooling – a little faster than it heated up, say at 1/100 degree C per year**. The deep will continue to warm – at, say 1/1000 degree C per year, for centuries.

            *Nothing in Nature is ever really in permanent, dynamic, equilibrium. It all depends on the time-scale.

            **It seems to have heated up at 1/200 degree C per year, based on Challenger to Argo data. Of course, it is quite impossible to measure such slow rates except over lengthy spans of time.

          • fonzarelli says:

            Thanx again, Nigel. By the way, i had assumed that you were being facetious by saying “be very afraid”. (i don’t think andrew got it though…)

  22. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy and others:

    Please read Comment #1500 on that previous thread here.

  23. David A says:

    “So, where did all this ecobabble come from?”

    Rivers that caught on fire and towns too chocked with smog for residents to escape to safety (Donora, PA 1948). Rivers no longer safe to drink or eat the fish that come from them. Mountaintop destruction. A few too many oil spills.

    Sorry your TV commercial was ruined for you.

  24. mpcraig says:

    Roy, this might be of interest to you:

  25. mpcraig says:

    As for the intent of this post, I completely agree. Many years ago I though “eco” or other similar terms like “green” was just a fad. But now, it has gotten to the point where these labels are supposed to mean “good” and are not to be questioned.

    Worse, this is now being used to alter society. AGW is a great example of this. And youngsters are having this imprinted into their brains during their education.

    Hey, has anybody ever done a serious study to determine if recycling is effective? That’s just one example.

  26. nigel says:

    Andrew_FL says:

    “…humans live in the lower atmosphere, not the upper ocean.”

    The temperatures in the lower atmosphere are regulated and constrained by the temperatures of the oceans, over decades and centuries. The heat capacity of the annually mixed 100 meters top-slice of the oceans is 40 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere. And the heat capacity of the whole of the oceans, which is mixed on a scale of a thousand years, is 1,600 times.

  27. Martin Clark says:

    “This Eco Nonsense Has To Stop”
    Problem is, they are so agile at requisitioning new terms once they have murdered the earlier ones – green, eco, sustainable, consensus, precautionary principle ….
    As a building designer specialising in CRD (climate responsive design) particularly related to the tropics, I have used all these terms, but they now make me (and many of my clients) grimace when we hear or say them.
    For a while I was doing all right with “resilience”, but they are busy ruining that one now.

  28. Slipstick says:

    “Eco” sells; that’s all there is to it. This is the free market at work.

  29. nigel says:

    ” “Eco” sells;…”

    Actually, I do not think it always does. The marketers may just want to avoid being bothered by the media and activists, if they do not pay lip service to them with certain slogans.

    “This is the free market at work.”

    Working on the dazed alumni of compulsory state education. The benefits of the free market require rational consumers.

    • Guy Threepwood says:

      Much of it is also about subsidy/ regulations etc, little to do with the free market or being trendy

      e.g. an ‘eco-boost’ option basically reduces the performance of the washing machine so that it can comply with a particular standard of energy/water use or whatever.

      I thought our new TV was broken until I figured out it came set on eco-something by default, with very low backlighting..

  30. Bohdan Burban says:

    Just think of the commercial opportunities that will flow from touting ethanol from carbon-free sugar, as in –

  31. Darren says:

    “Eco” and “Green” have become synonymous with “efficient” in much of the business world.

    And there is logic behind the notion that using less energy to produce the same good/service means less cost.

    I have no problem with it.

    Then again, I’m a Ford guy and I love my 2.0L Eco-Boost 4WD Escape. Which, yes, is a turbo-charged 4Cyl engine with 51 more HP than my old Nissan Xterra 6-banger and about 50% more MPG.

    As long as I get all that, they can call it “Eco” whatever they want.

  32. Steve Fitzpatrick says:

    The Eco-nonsense has been growing pretty much continuously since the first “Earth Day”. I think it is symptomatic of a pervasive feeling of guilt among the numbskull portion of the population (which is, sadly, quite a large portion) because they live a very comfortable life, courtesy of Eco-unfriendly abundant energy and Eco-unfriendly material goods. I note the the richer the numbskull, the more Eco-guilty they will likely feel. I suspect deep down inside they know the don’t really deserve the non-Eco lifestyle they have… and in many cases, I must agree with them… activist movie actors are the perfect example.

    So the numbskulls drive a Prius and think that corn based ethanol in gasoline is a good thing… it is a mindless substitution of being very PC for actually thinking things through.

    • fonzarelli says:

      Yeah, steve, i’m afraid all this wacko environmentalism is defeating the noble purpose for which it stands. That being the prudent stewardship of mother earth…

      • jimc says:

        Just make sure to flush your water saving toilet two or three times to make sure it does the job.

        • rah says:

          Oh you could buy one of those pressurized super flushers. But beware that no small animals are close when you flush it.

  33. Truthseeker says:

    If I want an appliance to work as intended, I just ensure that the “Eco” settings are turned OFF.

  34. Peter says:


    Again we enjoy your wit mixed with thorough scientific presentation. Thanks for your blog. It is one of the fences against false science and a constant foil to taking ourselves too seriously.

  35. Ric Werme says:

    My 2013 Hyundai Elantra has a “ECO Mode” button with a small LED that lights up when turned on. There’s also a dashboard light in case the steering wheel blocks the first LED.

    So far I can’t figure out what it does, and even the explanations at the dealer were vague enough to have no predictive power. It may affect shift points or shift speed, but I can’t even find a note on the web that explains it well.

    At least the LEDs are low power.

    • Slipstick says:

      I recently had a Hyundai as a rental for a couple of weeks and I experimented with the Eco mode. Acceleration was definitely limited and the shift points changed. It felt kind of like driving to stretch a low tank. If you normally drive with a light foot, I doubt that you would see much mileage difference, but a heavy-footed driver might save some gas.

  36. crakar24 says:

    You are just talking about a sticker!!! We went to Europe for a work trip (i am from Australia) and we drove a hire car. When you stopped at the lights with your foot on the brake the engine cut out…….take your foot off the brake and it started again.

    This type of technology is our attempt to save the planet? The planet better hurry up and save itself i think.

  37. Gordon Robertson says:

    Don’t know if this has been answered but eco-boost means:

    “This option uses less hot water and increases the tumbling action to decrease energy use…”

    The same thing can be accomplished by turning down the hot water feed to make less hot water available and not using the pure hot water setting.

  38. dave says:

    RSS number for April for LTT:

    Down by 0.08 C from March – same as UAH (versions 5.6 and 6.0 are the same, for the monthly change).

  39. Dan Pangburn says:

    It will be interesting to see how this evolves as it becomes more widely known that CO2 has no significant effect on climate.

    • Slipstick says:

      It won’t, since it is physically impossible that doubling the CO2 content without some other compensating change would have no significant effect; LWIR power radiated back into the atmosphere by CO2 is just too large. One can debate how much of an effect and consider feedback which might mitigate the effect, but to say insignificant is simply incorrect.

      • Dan Pangburn says:

        The proof that CO2 has no significant effect on climate is not complicated. The key is realizing that, if CO2 is a forcing, its effect on temperature must result from the time-integral of the CO2 level (or some function thereof) not the CO2 level itself. When this is applied to multiple corroborated paleo estimates of CO2 and average global temperature, the only thing that consistently works is if the effect of CO2 is negligible.

        Suspected explanations for this include that there are so many more ‘opportunities’ (absorption lines per molecule times number of molecules) for absorption by water vapor molecules that the added CO2 ‘opportunities’ have an insignificant effect and/or added TOA CO2 molecules emitting to space compensate for the added molecules absorbing at low altitude.

        • Slipstick says:

          What you say regarding CO2 in the paleoclimate record is true, but it is a partial truth and your conclusion does not follow. For the last 150 years or so we haved been steadily increasing CO2 above the “natural” levels, to currently about 30% above the maximum in the last half-million years. The “paleo” model is no longer valid.

          Regarding LWIR absorption, you again use a partial truth as the basis for your argument. Indeed, water vapor is a strong absorber across most of the LWIR spectrum, except for a few bands, while CO2 absorbs IR in only a few comparatively narrow bands. What you fail to mention is that one of CO2’s strongest absorption bands overlays wavelengths where H2O is weakest. In other words, CO2 is absorbing IR photons which would otherwise be unlikely to be absorbed at all.

          The addition of CO2 radiating at the TOA “compensating” for the absorption in the troposphere defies logic. About half of the IR photons emitted by CO2 at the TOA are going to be radiated “downwards”, back into the atmosphere. Increasing C02 at the TOA will actually reduce the rate of radiation from the atmosphere.

          • Dan Pangburn says:

            The paleo data includes the entire Phanerozoic (about 542 million years). Includes time when CO2 level was at least 6 times the present.

            Perhaps a different statement of the proof might help. Atmospheric CO2 has been identified as a possible climate change forcing. Forcings, according to the ‘consensus’ and the IPCC, have units of Joules/sec/m^2. Energy, in units Joules/m^2, divided by the effective thermal capacitance (Joules/K/m^2) equals average global temperature (AGT) change (K). Thus (in consistent units) the time-integral of the atmospheric CO2 level (or some function thereof) times a scale factor equals the AGT change. When this is applied to multiple corroborated paleo estimates of CO2 and average global temperature, the only thing that consistently works is if the effect of CO2 is negligible.

            CO2 only absorbs terrestrial radiation significantly only at one ‘band’ (about 15 microns). The proof that CO2 has no significant effect on climate mandates that the over-all effect of the added CO2 is negligible.

            Check your ‘logic’. Radiation from CO2 molecules is omnidirectional irrespective of their location in the atmosphere.

  40. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    Yes, Eco-silly has to stop.
    We can stop it, if we want. We can tell a dealer the “Eco” label makes his product less attractive. And for me, it does. It would mark me as silly.

  41. Slipstick says:

    This puts me in mind of a all the other marketing inanities that are foisted upon us. “Low calorie” (compared to what?), “All natural” (there’s a whole lot of nature that ain’t particularly good for you), and “New and Improved” (which generally means a smaller package at a higher price) are some classics. My favorite stupid ad copy of all time, though, is “Made with REAL ingredients!”

  42. In other words, the hypotheses is that increased energy efficiency ’causes’ higher GDP.

    • That’s not actually a theory, that’s economics 101.

      • Vincent says:

        Indeed! In a modern society nothing moves without expenditure of energy. As energy becomes cheaper (in real terms), more can be produced and the wealthier we can become.

        Alternatively, with the same amount of energy at the same cost, we can produce more if the machines we use become more efficient and/or we organise our affairs and methods of production more efficiently.

        But there’s a limit to that process. It’s literally impossible to achieve greater than 100% efficiency, and usually realistically impossible to achieve anywhere close to 100% efficiency. A typical, modern petrol engine, or a coal-fired power station operates at only about 35% efficiency.

        • Lewis says:

          Very econ 101. All we do in my business is try to increase efficiency. We’re a trucking company. Diesel fuel is our main expense after labor, so direct energy consumption is reduced the more efficient we become. But people and machines use and cost energy to produce also, so the more efficient we become, the less people required, the less machines/repairs required, while the end result is larger.

          We expect the best we can do in our measure, which is empty miles, is a 10%, we’re at 15% now. We’ll never get to 0%. But we try.

          As an aside, ice and snow cost us money directly, in time and energy. I’m all for global warming and hope Salvatore is wrong, but suspect he is right.

  43. patrick healy says:

    Good article Doctor.
    This eco eschatology is one of the main reasons I have had to eschew my catholic religious practice of over 70 years.
    Our parish here in Scotland has embraced a political crypto communist organisation called which is completely in enthralled by the great global warming fraud.
    Look up and look at their global warming section and weep.

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