Ed Leaver's Home Page


This is my personal web page. I hope to share some internet and library research on diverse topics of interest. Most of the articles are brief, serving mainly as collections of links to additional sources. Many may eventually end up in my Blog. Best viewed with Firefox or Google Chrome.
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On Nuclear Power Losing its Glow in California

Celebrating Climate Change 2015

Posted by Edward Leaver, 3 December 2015 (Updated 10 Feb 2016)

Michael R. Blood’s AP piece Nuclear power losing its glow in Calif. that appeared in The Denver Post Sunday, 29 November 2015, reported on movement to close California’s last remaining nuclear power plant. We examine some environmental costs of such action. read more.

United States Deep Decarbonization Pathways
Part I: Showing the Ways

A comment on a 2014 study from Lawrence-Berkeley and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories

Posted by Ed Leaver, 9 November 2015

Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States 2050 Report, prepared by scientists and economists at Lawrence-Berkeley and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, is part of the United States contribution to the international Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, and has been submitted to the U.N. The report is available as a 100 page pdf, and is quite readable. I selectively quote from key sections, reproduce a few figures illustrating key results, and conclude with some brief commentary. read more.

How ’bout dem Trump?

Posted by Ed Leaver, 20 July 2015

Lessee: we got this political dilettante, Donald Trump, never elected to anything not even dog-catcher, styling himself top contender for office of President of the United States, on no qualifications whatsoever other than he’s a billionaire “reality” star. Which come to think of it, after Citizen’s United, is all that really matters. read more.

Provisional Withdrawal of Previous Support for EPA Clean Power Plan

Denver 30 November 2014

Posted by Ed Leaver 1 December 2014

In the months since the public in-person opportunity to comment at EPA’s Clean Power Plan hearings this past July, it has become apparent that, as it is currently written, the Clean Power Plan will fulfill the expectations neither of EPA Administrators past or present, nor of environmentally concerned scientists, engineers, economists,and commentators who have realistically analyzed the nature of the climate catastrophe now upon us, and the enormity of the tasks involved in its mitigation.

My purpose here is to explain why I feel compelled to equivocate my previously unequivocable support, and to suggest ways in which EPA’s Clean Power Plan might be improved such as to further its original intent and aspirations. read more.

EPA Clean Power Plan Public Comment

Denver 29 July 2014

Posted by Ed Leaver 1 August 2014

I was privileged to speak in-person in support of the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan July 29, 2014, in Denver. These are my brief remarks along with supporting notes, and links to EPA resources and directions for submitting public comments (deadline 16 October 2014). read more.

Pandora’s Back Pages

Notes on a Sustainable Nuclear Age

Posted by Ed Leaver 8 September 2013 (Draft, Jan 26 2014)

Pandora’s Promise. 86 min. Documentary. Cast: Leonard J. Koch, Richard Rhodes, Stewart Brand, Gweneth Cravens, Michael Shellenberger, Mark Lynas, and Dr. Charles Till. 2013. Written and Directed by Robert Stone.

“It’s no easy thing to have come to the conclusion that the rapid deployment of nuclear power is now the greatest hope we have for saving us from an environmental catastrophe. Yet this growing realization has led me to question many of the founding tenets of traditional environmentalism, from the belief that we can dramatically reduce our energy demand through energy efficiency to the belief that solar and wind power will one day power the planet. The almost theological adherence to a set of unquestionable beliefs by most liberals and environmentalists has likely contributed as much or more to prolonging our addiction to fossil fuels as the equally appalling state of denial among many conservatives when it comes to climate change. Both sides are locked into rigid, self-righteous ideological positions with potentially disastrous consequences for us all unless we begin to face the facts...” –From the Director’s Statement.

There are limits to what one can cover in 90 minutes, and some viewers may feel slighted by neglect or oversight of their favorite pro- or anti-nuclear arguments. Books have been written on both; I do not intend another here. Pandora’s Promise attempts to condense sixty-two years of nuclear power and policy history, with additional commentary on modern reactor safety and waste management. Here I merely pull a few threads of Pandora’s backstory, and provide links that support some of the film’s facts and assertions. In Part II we go beyond the film’s initial premise and provide cogent argument, based on extensive integrated climate and economic modeling by our universities and national labs, that it simply will not be possible for renewable sources – wind, water, biomass, and sun – to by themselves provide the huge amounts of global electric energy required to mitigate climate change in the 21st century in anything close to an economic competitive fashion. It is a massive problem that requires integrated solution. Nuclear power will play a critical role. read more.

Introduction to Electric Power

Posted by Ed Leaver 13 September 2013 (Draft, Dec 23).

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the difference between electric power and useful electric energy. They were used nearly interchangeably back in the day of all-dispatchable power generation, though even then utilities always charged us for the energy in kilowatt-hours we actually used. With the introduction of intermittent renewables, wind and sun, it has become criticially important to carefully distinguish power from energy, as well as the importance and different effective meanings of capacity factor. We explain each of these, and collect some useful information about the energy density of various fuels and the land area requirements of wind and solar generation. We conclude with brief introduction to capital costs of wind and nuclear power, saving most of the discussion for another article. read more.

Why Anthropogenic Global Warming

Posted by Ed Leaver 10 October 2012. Last update 5 May 2013.

We know the earth is warming because we can measure it. We know mankind is causing the warming because we can measure his fingerprint. National scientific organizations confirm the reality of anthropogenic global warming and human-induced climate change. We excerpt the general policy statements issued by the American Geophysical Union and the American Institute of Physics, and provide links to comprehensive resources. Our aim here is brevity: we briefly discuss three specific climate change signatures that together provide irrefutable evidence of man’s involvement in global warming, reference commentary on the 2009 Climate Research Unit emails controversy, and cite the skeptically independent Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study that subsequently confirmed results of previous ”main-stream” studies of global warming. References are provided to primary and secondary sources. read more.

A Free Market in Political Speech

Posted by Ed Leaver 01 Aug 2012

Free-market considerations are, of course, frequently and willfully misapplied to argue political ends to which they patently do not apply. We’ve seen it before. We will see it again. We would be remiss not to include a brief rant illustrating the technique. read more.

Adam Smith, William Jevons, and the Tragedy of the Commons

Posted by Ed Leaver 26 July 2012

When confronted with economic policy, many people invoke Adam Smith’s ”Invisible Hand” and rest themselves assured all will be well if but they look after their own profit. Life is not so simple, and neither is classical economics. We explore some popular misconceptions in this central essay we expect to frequently revise and revisit. read more.

Translating LaTeX Documents to Html/MathML

Posted by Ed Leaver on

In a previous incarnation, back in the early pre-dns daze of the Internet, I dabbled in some moderately obscure mathematics of my own, eventually publishing a few modestly-received journal articles. These were prepared using the LaTeX document preparation program, which I found rather convenient for the purpose. I was hardly alone, and since then LaTeX has become the common standard for publishing research articles and textbooks involving mathematics. read more.