Win a Ticket + Lodging to MozCon 2018!

Posted by ErinMcCaul

Have you been wanting to come to MozCon but just can’t swing the budget? Want to take a selfie with Roger, meet like-minded friends at our afterparties, and learn from leading industry experts? I’m thrilled to announce that you can do it all by winning a free ticket to join us at MozCon this July!

Those front-row seats look awfully cushy.

I’m one of the behind-the-scenes house elves who helps make MozCon happen, and I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about entering to win!

To enter, just submit a unique piece of content telling us why we should send you to MozCon by Sunday May 6th at 5pm PDT. Make sure your entry is both original and creative — the Moz staff will review all submissions and vote on the winner! If you’re chosen, we’ll pick up the tab for your registration and accommodations at the Grand Hyatt. You’ll also have a reserved VIP seat in our front row, and an invite to mix and mingle at our pre-event MozCon speakers’ dinner!

Without further ado, here’s the scoop:

Step 1: Create!

Create a unique, compelling piece of content telling us why you want to come to MozCon. Past ideas have included:

  • Drawings
  • Videos (must be one minute or less)
  • Blog posts
  • Original songs
  • Books
  • Slide decks
  • Anything else you can cook up!

Don’t feel limited by these examples. Is this the year we’ll see a Lego Roger stop-motion film, a MozCon-inspired show tune, or Roger-themed sugar cookies? The sky’s the limit, my friends! (But think hard about trying your hand at those cookies.)

Step 2: Submit!

Once you’re ready to throw your hat in the game, tweet us a link @Moz and use the hashtag #MozConVIP by Sunday May 6th at 5pm PDT. Make sure to follow the instructions, and include your name and email address somewhere easily visible within your content. To keep things fair, there will be no exceptions to the rules. We need to be able to contact you if you’re our lucky winner!

Let’s recap:

  • The submission deadline is Sunday May 6th at 5pm PDT.
  • Mozzers will vote on all the entries based on the creativity and uniqueness of the content
  • We’ll announce the winning entry from @Moz via Twitter on Friday, May 11. You must be able to attend MozCon, July 9–11 2018, in Seattle. Prizes are non-transferable.
  • All submissions must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • Content is void where prohibited by law.
  • The value of the prize will be reported for tax purposes as required by law; the winner will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS. The winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prizes and paying any expenses associated with any prize which are not specifically provided for in the official rules.

Our lucky winner will receive:

  • A free ticket to MozCon 2018, including optional VIP front-row seating and an invitation to our speakers’ dinner (valued at $1,500+)
  • Accommodations with a suite upgrade at the Grand Hyatt from July 8–12, 2018 (valued at $1,300+)

Alright, that’s wrap. I can’t wait to see what you folks come up with! Happy creating!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2018/04/win-ticket-lodging-to-mozcon-2018.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

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Krugman Misleads on Renewables

From his perch at the NYT, economist Paul Krugman has launched another attack on people with different political views. In this most recent piece, Krugman opens by informing readers that “Peter Thiel, Facebook investor and Donald Trump supporter, is by all accounts a terrible person.” Krugman then uses this casual insult to segue into discussing the amazing strides in renewables technology, and how the Trump Administration is doing what it can to hinder progress and threaten humanity.

However, even though the title of his article (which the editors may have picked) accuses Thiel and other Trump supporters as being “liars,” it is actually Krugman whose column is at best misleading. Yes, it is true that newly installed wind power—though not solar—is now becoming competitive with natural gas.

But that doesn’t mean it will be painless to eliminate fossil fuels, because of the difference between operating and installation costs, and because of the intermittency problems with wind and solar. Standard estimates put out by the federal government show that renewables (including hydro) will still account for only 16 and 18 percent of U.S. and global energy consumption (respectively) by mid-century. As we at IER explained last summer, there are some 1,600 coal-fired power plants planned or already under construction in 62 countries around the world.

If wind and solar were really the no-brainer that Krugman assures us, he and his allies wouldn’t be calling for government restrictions on coal or subsidies to renewables. He would agree with IER that competition and market prices are the best vehicles for delivery affordable and reliable energy to consumers.

Krugman’s Optimism on Renewables

To show that I’m not attacking a strawman, let’s allow Krugman to make his case in his own words:

Believers in the primacy of fossil fuels, coal in particular, are now technological dead-enders; they, not foolish leftists, are our modern Luddites….

About the technology: As recently as 2010, it still consistently cost more to generate electricity from sun and wind than from fossil fuels. But that gap has already been eliminated, and this is just the beginning….

To paraphrase the science-fiction writer William Gibson, the renewable energy future is already pretty much here; it’s just not very evenly distributed.

[T]here is no longer any reason to believe that it would be hard to drastically “decarbonize” the economy. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that doing so would impose any significant economic cost. The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization. [Krugman, bold added.]

The interested reader can digest Krugman’s entire piece for caveats, such as his admission that yes, intermittency is an issue. But as the passages above make clear, Krugman is quite plainly telling his readers that wind and solar are already competitive with fossil fuels, and that their edge will only increase. He literally says “the renewable energy future is already pretty much here.”

Well, this is only true, if by “already pretty much here” Krugman means “maybe in 75 years.” I’ll give some evidence in the next section.

What the Technical Literature Actually Says About Renewables

If we consult the reports of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), we see a much different picture from the one Krugman painted. For starters, it’s true that the 2018 Annual Energy Outlook says newly installed onshore wind is now competitive with natural gas, but solar isn’t:

Source: EIA

As the table indicates, under “Total system LCOE [levelized cost of electricity],” new generation in conventional combined-cycle natural gas costs $48.30 per megawatt-hour, whereas onshore wind costs $48.00. Yet offshore wind is still a whopping $124.60, and photovoltaic (PV) solar is still $59.10. (The cheapest source listed is actually geothermal, at $43.10 per new megawatt-hour.)

So if this is the case, and we can expect further improvements as people gain more experience with renewables, does the EIA project a massive switch in energy sources? Not at all. Here is the chart showing EIA’s latest projections in the baseline “reference case” for the United States:

Source: EIA

As the chart reveals, it is only by mid-century that renewables (other than hydro) surpass coal, and they are a far cry from supplanting fossil fuels altogether. Indeed, the EIA’s tables show that by 2050, renewable sources (including hydro) account for only 16 percent of U.S. energy consumption, while petroleum and other liquids account for 34 percent, natural gas for 33 percent, and coal for 12 percent. So for those keeping score at home, EIA projects that under current policies, by the year 2050 Americans will get about 16 percent of their energy from renewables (including hydro), and 78 percent from fossil fuels.[i] Not exactly the picture Krugman painted, is it?

EIA has a similar projection for long-term global energy consumption:

Source: EIA

Referring to EIA’s table for more specifics, we see that by 2050, all renewables (including hydroelectric power) provide for about 18 percent of global energy demand. Fossil fuels, in contrast, provide for 77 percent. (Nuclear picks up the balance at 5 percent.)

So we see that Krugman’s claims bear no relationship to the facts, unless he meant, “At some point, humanity will no longer need to use coal.” Well, yes, that’s not a false statement, but who disputes that? The actual policy disputes concern whether, say, plans to hit the goals of the Paris climate treaty will cause intolerable economic losses.

The Literature Agrees That Total Decarbonization Currently Infeasible

Finally, let’s consider Krugman’s claim that, “The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization.” Interestingly, Krugman’s buddy—in the sense that he cites him favorably—David Roberts at Vox has an article on this very topic.

Specifically, Roberts looked at recent studies of the technical literature to see how feasible it would be to completely “decarbonize” the economy. To end your suspense: it’s not.

For example, Roberts reviewed a study that “examines 24 scenarios for 100 percent renewable energy with enough detail to be credible. It then judges them against four criteria for feasibility…” And lo and behold, it turns out that all 24 scenarios failed, with the highest scoring one garnering only 4 out of a possible 7 points.

Now I want to stress, this is not the answer that guys like Roberts (or Krugman) want. And so let me provide some quotations from Roberts’ Vox article, to show how he wants to fan the flames of hope even though the technical literature didn’t give the answer that decarbonization hawks would have preferred.

First, here is Roberts’ initial reaction, after dropping the bombshell that nobody had proposed a solution to the demands:

It’s reasonable to ask whether we need that much confidence to begin planning for long-term decarbonization. If any new system must demonstrate in advance that it is fully prepared to substitute for today’s system, it’s going to be difficult to change the system at all (bold added).

So that’s a neat trick: Activists say we need to decarbonize, the critics point out it can’t be done, and the activists retort, “Let’s start anyway!” because otherwise those naysaying defeatists would win.

But an even funnier quotation comes later in Roberts’ article, when he declares:

It pays to be careful with literature reviews. They are generally more reliable than single studies, but they are exercises in interpretation, colored by the assumptions of their authors. And there’s always a danger that they are simply compiling common biases and limitations in current models — reifying conventional wisdom (bold added).

I wonder: Do climate “skeptics” get to use this same attitude? Can they “be careful with literature reviews,” when the reviews spit out the wrong answer? Do they get to throw out the “current models” because of their “common biases and limitations”?

Of course not. When the computer models produce results that Roberts et al. like, then it’s “consensus science” and anyone who doubts it is a “denier.”

So back to Krugman, when he says that the current debate is over how much we can easily decarbonize the economy, keep in mind that this “debate” has guys like Roberts writing—and again I quote from his Vox article—rigorous statements like this:

Models today cannot capture the effects of technologies and techniques that have not yet been developed. But this stuff is the subject of intense research, experimentation, and innovation right now.

It is viewed as irresponsible to include speculative new developments in models, but at the same time, it’s a safe bet that the energy world will see dramatic changes in the next few decades. Far more balancing options will be available to future modelers. [Bold added.]

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the above mindset. But it would be nice if there were some consistency here. When guys like me point out that humans have adapted and solved problems in the past, and so climate change doesn’t pose an existential threat to the planet the way Krugman tells us, then we are denounced as pie-in-the-sky fools, grasping at straws for low-cost solutions that may not develop in time.

But on the other hand, when guys like me point out that the actual and proposed government interventions into the energy sector will raise prices and reduce economic growth, Krugman and his allies rely on magic asterisks to make their climate targets painless. They need to make up their minds.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, the rumors of conventional energy sources’ death have been greatly exaggerated.[ii] As I always ask when proponents of renewables tout their cost-effectiveness: why then do you support government intervention in the energy markets? If and when it makes economic sense for wind and solar to expand in electricity generation, market forces will foster that outcome. If and when it makes economic sense for Americans to phase in electric cars, then prices will spontaneously lead to that occurring. Writers like Krugman want to have it both ways: He tells us—sometimes in the same column—that only “deniers” and “liars” think fossil fuels have a future, but also that the government needs to ban coal while subsidizing renewables or else our children are dead. Which is it?


[i] The “petroleum and other liquids” includes 1 percentage point attributable to biofuels, which I have removed from my figure for fossil fuels.

[ii] Apparently the expression commonly attributed to Mark Twain is a slight misquotation, but it’s good enough for energy policy analysis.

The post Krugman Misleads on Renewables appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2018/04/krugman-misleads-on-renewables.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

Krugman Misleads on Renewables

From his perch at the NYT, economist Paul Krugman has launched another attack on people with different political views. In this most recent piece, Krugman opens by informing readers that “Peter Thiel, Facebook investor and Donald Trump supporter, is by all accounts a terrible person.” Krugman then uses this casual insult to segue into discussing the amazing strides in renewables technology, and how the Trump Administration is doing what it can to hinder progress and threaten humanity.

However, even though the title of his article (which the editors may have picked) accuses Thiel and other Trump supporters as being “liars,” it is actually Krugman whose column is at best misleading. Yes, it is true that newly installed wind power—though not solar—is now becoming competitive with natural gas.

But that doesn’t mean it will be painless to eliminate fossil fuels, because of the difference between operating and installation costs, and because of the intermittency problems with wind and solar. Standard estimates put out by the federal government show that renewables (including hydro) will still account for only 16 and 18 percent of U.S. and global energy consumption (respectively) by mid-century. As we at IER explained last summer, there are some 1,600 coal-fired power plants planned or already under construction in 62 countries around the world.

If wind and solar were really the no-brainer that Krugman assures us, he and his allies wouldn’t be calling for government restrictions on coal or subsidies to renewables. He would agree with IER that competition and market prices are the best vehicles for delivery affordable and reliable energy to consumers.

Krugman’s Optimism on Renewables

To show that I’m not attacking a strawman, let’s allow Krugman to make his case in his own words:

Believers in the primacy of fossil fuels, coal in particular, are now technological dead-enders; they, not foolish leftists, are our modern Luddites….

About the technology: As recently as 2010, it still consistently cost more to generate electricity from sun and wind than from fossil fuels. But that gap has already been eliminated, and this is just the beginning….

To paraphrase the science-fiction writer William Gibson, the renewable energy future is already pretty much here; it’s just not very evenly distributed.

[T]here is no longer any reason to believe that it would be hard to drastically “decarbonize” the economy. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that doing so would impose any significant economic cost. The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization. [Krugman, bold added.]

The interested reader can digest Krugman’s entire piece for caveats, such as his admission that yes, intermittency is an issue. But as the passages above make clear, Krugman is quite plainly telling his readers that wind and solar are already competitive with fossil fuels, and that their edge will only increase. He literally says “the renewable energy future is already pretty much here.”

Well, this is only true, if by “already pretty much here” Krugman means “maybe in 75 years.” I’ll give some evidence in the next section.

What the Technical Literature Actually Says About Renewables

If we consult the reports of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), we see a much different picture from the one Krugman painted. For starters, it’s true that the 2018 Annual Energy Outlook says newly installed onshore wind is now competitive with natural gas, but solar isn’t:

Source: EIA

As the table indicates, under “Total system LCOE [levelized cost of electricity],” new generation in conventional combined-cycle natural gas costs $48.30 per megawatt-hour, whereas onshore wind costs $48.00. Yet offshore wind is still a whopping $124.60, and photovoltaic (PV) solar is still $59.10. (The cheapest source listed is actually geothermal, at $43.10 per new megawatt-hour.)

So if this is the case, and we can expect further improvements as people gain more experience with renewables, does the EIA project a massive switch in energy sources? Not at all. Here is the chart showing EIA’s latest projections in the baseline “reference case” for the United States:

Source: EIA

As the chart reveals, it is only by mid-century that renewables (other than hydro) surpass coal, and they are a far cry from supplanting fossil fuels altogether. Indeed, the EIA’s tables show that by 2050, renewable sources (including hydro) account for only 16 percent of U.S. energy consumption, while petroleum and other liquids account for 34 percent, natural gas for 33 percent, and coal for 12 percent. So for those keeping score at home, EIA projects that under current policies, by the year 2050 Americans will get about 16 percent of their energy from renewables (including hydro), and 78 percent from fossil fuels.[i] Not exactly the picture Krugman painted, is it?

EIA has a similar projection for long-term global energy consumption:

Source: EIA

Referring to EIA’s table for more specifics, we see that by 2050, all renewables (including hydroelectric power) provide for about 18 percent of global energy demand. Fossil fuels, in contrast, provide for 77 percent. (Nuclear picks up the balance at 5 percent.)

So we see that Krugman’s claims bear no relationship to the facts, unless he meant, “At some point, humanity will no longer need to use coal.” Well, yes, that’s not a false statement, but who disputes that? The actual policy disputes concern whether, say, plans to hit the goals of the Paris climate treaty will cause intolerable economic losses.

The Literature Agrees That Total Decarbonization Currently Infeasible

Finally, let’s consider Krugman’s claim that, “The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization.” Interestingly, Krugman’s buddy—in the sense that he cites him favorably—David Roberts at Vox has an article on this very topic.

Specifically, Roberts looked at recent studies of the technical literature to see how feasible it would be to completely “decarbonize” the economy. To end your suspense: it’s not.

For example, Roberts reviewed a study that “examines 24 scenarios for 100 percent renewable energy with enough detail to be credible. It then judges them against four criteria for feasibility…” And lo and behold, it turns out that all 24 scenarios failed, with the highest scoring one garnering only 4 out of a possible 7 points.

Now I want to stress, this is not the answer that guys like Roberts (or Krugman) want. And so let me provide some quotations from Roberts’ Vox article, to show how he wants to fan the flames of hope even though the technical literature didn’t give the answer that decarbonization hawks would have preferred.

First, here is Roberts’ initial reaction, after dropping the bombshell that nobody had proposed a solution to the demands:

It’s reasonable to ask whether we need that much confidence to begin planning for long-term decarbonization. If any new system must demonstrate in advance that it is fully prepared to substitute for today’s system, it’s going to be difficult to change the system at all (bold added).

So that’s a neat trick: Activists say we need to decarbonize, the critics point out it can’t be done, and the activists retort, “Let’s start anyway!” because otherwise those naysaying defeatists would win.

But an even funnier quotation comes later in Roberts’ article, when he declares:

It pays to be careful with literature reviews. They are generally more reliable than single studies, but they are exercises in interpretation, colored by the assumptions of their authors. And there’s always a danger that they are simply compiling common biases and limitations in current models — reifying conventional wisdom (bold added).

I wonder: Do climate “skeptics” get to use this same attitude? Can they “be careful with literature reviews,” when the reviews spit out the wrong answer? Do they get to throw out the “current models” because of their “common biases and limitations”?

Of course not. When the computer models produce results that Roberts et al. like, then it’s “consensus science” and anyone who doubts it is a “denier.”

So back to Krugman, when he says that the current debate is over how much we can easily decarbonize the economy, keep in mind that this “debate” has guys like Roberts writing—and again I quote from his Vox article—rigorous statements like this:

Models today cannot capture the effects of technologies and techniques that have not yet been developed. But this stuff is the subject of intense research, experimentation, and innovation right now.

It is viewed as irresponsible to include speculative new developments in models, but at the same time, it’s a safe bet that the energy world will see dramatic changes in the next few decades. Far more balancing options will be available to future modelers. [Bold added.]

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the above mindset. But it would be nice if there were some consistency here. When guys like me point out that humans have adapted and solved problems in the past, and so climate change doesn’t pose an existential threat to the planet the way Krugman tells us, then we are denounced as pie-in-the-sky fools, grasping at straws for low-cost solutions that may not develop in time.

But on the other hand, when guys like me point out that the actual and proposed government interventions into the energy sector will raise prices and reduce economic growth, Krugman and his allies rely on magic asterisks to make their climate targets painless. They need to make up their minds.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, the rumors of conventional energy sources’ death have been greatly exaggerated.[ii] As I always ask when proponents of renewables tout their cost-effectiveness: why then do you support government intervention in the energy markets? If and when it makes economic sense for wind and solar to expand in electricity generation, market forces will foster that outcome. If and when it makes economic sense for Americans to phase in electric cars, then prices will spontaneously lead to that occurring. Writers like Krugman want to have it both ways: He tells us—sometimes in the same column—that only “deniers” and “liars” think fossil fuels have a future, but also that the government needs to ban coal while subsidizing renewables or else our children are dead. Which is it?


[i] The “petroleum and other liquids” includes 1 percentage point attributable to biofuels, which I have removed from my figure for fossil fuels.

[ii] Apparently the expression commonly attributed to Mark Twain is a slight misquotation, but it’s good enough for energy policy analysis.

The post Krugman Misleads on Renewables appeared first on IER.

Krugman Misleads on Renewables

From his perch at the NYT, economist Paul Krugman has launched another attack on people with different political views. In this most recent piece, Krugman opens by informing readers that “Peter Thiel, Facebook investor and Donald Trump supporter, is by all accounts a terrible person.” Krugman then uses this casual insult to segue into discussing the amazing strides in renewables technology, and how the Trump Administration is doing what it can to hinder progress and threaten humanity.

However, even though the title of his article (which the editors may have picked) accuses Thiel and other Trump supporters as being “liars,” it is actually Krugman whose column is at best misleading. Yes, it is true that newly installed wind power—though not solar—is now becoming competitive with natural gas.

But that doesn’t mean it will be painless to eliminate fossil fuels, because of the difference between operating and installation costs, and because of the intermittency problems with wind and solar. Standard estimates put out by the federal government show that renewables (including hydro) will still account for only 16 and 18 percent of U.S. and global energy consumption (respectively) by mid-century. As we at IER explained last summer, there are some 1,600 coal-fired power plants planned or already under construction in 62 countries around the world.

If wind and solar were really the no-brainer that Krugman assures us, he and his allies wouldn’t be calling for government restrictions on coal or subsidies to renewables. He would agree with IER that competition and market prices are the best vehicles for delivery affordable and reliable energy to consumers.

Krugman’s Optimism on Renewables

To show that I’m not attacking a strawman, let’s allow Krugman to make his case in his own words:

Believers in the primacy of fossil fuels, coal in particular, are now technological dead-enders; they, not foolish leftists, are our modern Luddites….

About the technology: As recently as 2010, it still consistently cost more to generate electricity from sun and wind than from fossil fuels. But that gap has already been eliminated, and this is just the beginning….

To paraphrase the science-fiction writer William Gibson, the renewable energy future is already pretty much here; it’s just not very evenly distributed.

[T]here is no longer any reason to believe that it would be hard to drastically “decarbonize” the economy. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that doing so would impose any significant economic cost. The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization. [Krugman, bold added.]

The interested reader can digest Krugman’s entire piece for caveats, such as his admission that yes, intermittency is an issue. But as the passages above make clear, Krugman is quite plainly telling his readers that wind and solar are already competitive with fossil fuels, and that their edge will only increase. He literally says “the renewable energy future is already pretty much here.”

Well, this is only true, if by “already pretty much here” Krugman means “maybe in 75 years.” I’ll give some evidence in the next section.

What the Technical Literature Actually Says About Renewables

If we consult the reports of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), we see a much different picture from the one Krugman painted. For starters, it’s true that the 2018 Annual Energy Outlook says newly installed onshore wind is now competitive with natural gas, but solar isn’t:

Source: EIA

As the table indicates, under “Total system LCOE [levelized cost of electricity],” new generation in conventional combined-cycle natural gas costs $48.30 per megawatt-hour, whereas onshore wind costs $48.00. Yet offshore wind is still a whopping $124.60, and photovoltaic (PV) solar is still $59.10. (The cheapest source listed is actually geothermal, at $43.10 per new megawatt-hour.)

So if this is the case, and we can expect further improvements as people gain more experience with renewables, does the EIA project a massive switch in energy sources? Not at all. Here is the chart showing EIA’s latest projections in the baseline “reference case” for the United States:

Source: EIA

As the chart reveals, it is only by mid-century that renewables (other than hydro) surpass coal, and they are a far cry from supplanting fossil fuels altogether. Indeed, the EIA’s tables show that by 2050, renewable sources (including hydro) account for only 16 percent of U.S. energy consumption, while petroleum and other liquids account for 34 percent, natural gas for 33 percent, and coal for 12 percent. So for those keeping score at home, EIA projects that under current policies, by the year 2050 Americans will get about 16 percent of their energy from renewables (including hydro), and 78 percent from fossil fuels.[i] Not exactly the picture Krugman painted, is it?

EIA has a similar projection for long-term global energy consumption:

Source: EIA

Referring to EIA’s table for more specifics, we see that by 2050, all renewables (including hydroelectric power) provide for about 18 percent of global energy demand. Fossil fuels, in contrast, provide for 77 percent. (Nuclear picks up the balance at 5 percent.)

So we see that Krugman’s claims bear no relationship to the facts, unless he meant, “At some point, humanity will no longer need to use coal.” Well, yes, that’s not a false statement, but who disputes that? The actual policy disputes concern whether, say, plans to hit the goals of the Paris climate treaty will cause intolerable economic losses.

The Literature Agrees That Total Decarbonization Currently Infeasible

Finally, let’s consider Krugman’s claim that, “The realistic debate is about how hard it will be to get from 80 to 100 percent decarbonization.” Interestingly, Krugman’s buddy—in the sense that he cites him favorably—David Roberts at Vox has an article on this very topic.

Specifically, Roberts looked at recent studies of the technical literature to see how feasible it would be to completely “decarbonize” the economy. To end your suspense: it’s not.

For example, Roberts reviewed a study that “examines 24 scenarios for 100 percent renewable energy with enough detail to be credible. It then judges them against four criteria for feasibility…” And lo and behold, it turns out that all 24 scenarios failed, with the highest scoring one garnering only 4 out of a possible 7 points.

Now I want to stress, this is not the answer that guys like Roberts (or Krugman) want. And so let me provide some quotations from Roberts’ Vox article, to show how he wants to fan the flames of hope even though the technical literature didn’t give the answer that decarbonization hawks would have preferred.

First, here is Roberts’ initial reaction, after dropping the bombshell that nobody had proposed a solution to the demands:

It’s reasonable to ask whether we need that much confidence to begin planning for long-term decarbonization. If any new system must demonstrate in advance that it is fully prepared to substitute for today’s system, it’s going to be difficult to change the system at all (bold added).

So that’s a neat trick: Activists say we need to decarbonize, the critics point out it can’t be done, and the activists retort, “Let’s start anyway!” because otherwise those naysaying defeatists would win.

But an even funnier quotation comes later in Roberts’ article, when he declares:

It pays to be careful with literature reviews. They are generally more reliable than single studies, but they are exercises in interpretation, colored by the assumptions of their authors. And there’s always a danger that they are simply compiling common biases and limitations in current models — reifying conventional wisdom (bold added).

I wonder: Do climate “skeptics” get to use this same attitude? Can they “be careful with literature reviews,” when the reviews spit out the wrong answer? Do they get to throw out the “current models” because of their “common biases and limitations”?

Of course not. When the computer models produce results that Roberts et al. like, then it’s “consensus science” and anyone who doubts it is a “denier.”

So back to Krugman, when he says that the current debate is over how much we can easily decarbonize the economy, keep in mind that this “debate” has guys like Roberts writing—and again I quote from his Vox article—rigorous statements like this:

Models today cannot capture the effects of technologies and techniques that have not yet been developed. But this stuff is the subject of intense research, experimentation, and innovation right now.

It is viewed as irresponsible to include speculative new developments in models, but at the same time, it’s a safe bet that the energy world will see dramatic changes in the next few decades. Far more balancing options will be available to future modelers. [Bold added.]

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the above mindset. But it would be nice if there were some consistency here. When guys like me point out that humans have adapted and solved problems in the past, and so climate change doesn’t pose an existential threat to the planet the way Krugman tells us, then we are denounced as pie-in-the-sky fools, grasping at straws for low-cost solutions that may not develop in time.

But on the other hand, when guys like me point out that the actual and proposed government interventions into the energy sector will raise prices and reduce economic growth, Krugman and his allies rely on magic asterisks to make their climate targets painless. They need to make up their minds.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, the rumors of conventional energy sources’ death have been greatly exaggerated.[ii] As I always ask when proponents of renewables tout their cost-effectiveness: why then do you support government intervention in the energy markets? If and when it makes economic sense for wind and solar to expand in electricity generation, market forces will foster that outcome. If and when it makes economic sense for Americans to phase in electric cars, then prices will spontaneously lead to that occurring. Writers like Krugman want to have it both ways: He tells us—sometimes in the same column—that only “deniers” and “liars” think fossil fuels have a future, but also that the government needs to ban coal while subsidizing renewables or else our children are dead. Which is it?


[i] The “petroleum and other liquids” includes 1 percentage point attributable to biofuels, which I have removed from my figure for fossil fuels.

[ii] Apparently the expression commonly attributed to Mark Twain is a slight misquotation, but it’s good enough for energy policy analysis.

The post Krugman Misleads on Renewables appeared first on IER.

How We Got a 32% Organic Traffic Boost from 4 On-Page SEO Changes [Case Study]

Posted by WallStreetOasis.com

My name is Patrick Curtis, and I’m the founder and CEO of Wall Street Oasis, an online community focused on careers in finance founded in 2006 with over 2 million visits per month.

User-generated content and long-tail organic traffic is what has built our business and community over the last 12+ years. But what happens if you wake up one day and realize that your growth has suddenly stopped? This is what happened to us back in November 2012.

In this case study, I’ll highlight two of our main SEO problems as a large forum with over 200,000 URLs, then describe two solutions that finally helped us regain our growth trajectory — almost five years later.

Two main problems

1. Algorithm change impacts

Ever since November 2012, Google’s algo changes have seemed to hurt many online forums like ours. Even though our traffic didn’t decline, our growth dropped to the single-digit percentages. No matter what we tried, we couldn’t break through our “plateau of pain” (I call it that because it was a painful ~5 years trying).

Plateau of pain: no double-digit growth from late 2012 onward

2. Quality of user-generated content

Related to the first problem, 99% of our content is user-generated (UGC) which means the quality is mixed (to put it kindly). Like most forum-based sites, some of our members create incredible pieces of content, but a meaningful percentage of our content is also admittedly thin and/or low-quality.

How could we deal with over 200,000 pieces of content efficiently and try to optimize them without going bankrupt? How could we “clean the cruft” when there was just so much of it?

Fighting back: Two solutions (and one statistical analysis to show how it worked)

1. “Merge and Purge” project

Our goal was to consolidate weaker “children” URLs into stronger “master” URLs to utilize some of the valuable content Google was ignoring and to make the user experience better.

For example, instead of having ~20 discussions on a specific topic (each with an average of around two to three comments) across twelve years, we would consolidate many of those discussions into the strongest two or three URLs (each with around 20–30 comments), leading to a much better user experience with less need to search and jump around the site.

Changes included taking the original post and comments from a “child” URL and merging them into the “master” URL, unpublishing the child URL, removing the child from sitemap, and adding a 301 redirect to the master.

Below is an example of how it looked when we merged a child into our popular Why Investment Banking discussion. We highlighted the original child post as a Related Topic with a blue border and included the original post date to help avoid confusion:

Highlighting a related topic child post

This was a massive project that involved some complex Excel sorting, but after 18 months and about $50,000 invested (27,418 children merged into 8,515 masters to date), the user experience, site architecture, and organization is much better.

Initial analysis suggests that the percentage gain from merging weak children URLs into stronger masters has given us a boost of ~10–15% in organic search traffic.

2. The Content Optimization Team

The goal of this initiative was to take the top landing pages that already existed on Wall Street Oasis and make sure that they were both higher quality and optimized for SEO. What does that mean, exactly, and how did we execute it?

We needed a dedicated team that had some baseline industry knowledge. To that end, we formed a team of five interns from the community, due to the fact that they were familiar with the common topics.

We looked at the top ~200 URLs over the previous 90 days (by organic landing page traffic) and listed them out in a spreadsheet:

Spreadsheet of organic traffic to URLs

We held five main hypotheses of what we believed would boost organic traffic before we started this project:

  1. Longer content with subtitles: Increasing the length of the content and adding relevant H2 and H3 subtitles to give the reader more detailed and useful information in an organized fashion.
  2. Changing the H1 so that it matched more high-volume keywords using Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
  3. Changing the URL so that it also was a better match to high-volume and relevant keywords.
  4. Adding a relevant image or graphic to help break up large “walls of text” and enrich the content.
  5. Adding a relevant video similar to the graphic, but also to help increase time on page and enrich the content around the topic.

We tracked all five of these changes across all 200 URLs (see image above). After a statistical analysis, we learned that four of them helped our organic search traffic and one actually hurt.

Summary of results from our statistical analysis

  • Increasing the length of the articles and adding relevant subtitles (H2s, H3s, and H4s) to help organize the content gives an average boost to organic traffic of 14%
  • Improving the title or H1 of the URLs yields a 9% increase on average
  • Changing the URL decreased traffic on average by 38% (this was a smaller sample size — we stopped doing this early on for obvious reasons)
  • Including a relevant video increases the organic traffic by 4% on average, while putting an image up increases it by 5% on average.

Overall, the boost to organic traffic — should we continue to make these four changes (and avoid changing the URL) — is 32% on average.

Key takeaway:

Over half of that gain (~18%) comes from changes that require a minimal investment of time. For teams trying to optimize on-page SEO across a large number of pages, we recommend focusing on the top landing pages first and easy wins before deciding if further investment is warranted.

We hope this case study of our on-page SEO efforts was interesting, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2018/04/how-we-got-32-organic-traffic-boost.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

The SEO Quick Fix: Competitor Keywords, Redirect Chains, and Duplicate Content, Oh My!

Posted by ErinMcCaul

I have a eight-month-old baby. As a mom my time is at a premium, and I’ve come to appreciate functionalities I didn’t know existed in things I already pay for. My HBONow subscription has Game of Thrones AND Sesame Street? Fantastic! Overnight diapers can save me a trip to the tiny airplane bathroom on a quick flight? Sweet! Oxiclean keeps my towels fluffy and vanquishes baby poop stains? Flip my pancakes!

Moz Pro isn’t just a tool for link building, or keyword research, or on-page SEO, or crawling your site. It does all those things and a little bit more, simplifying your SEO work and saving time. And if you’ve run into an SEO task you’re not sure how to tackle, it’s possible that a tool you need is right here just waiting to be found! It’s in this spirit that we’ve revived our SEO Quick Fix videos. These 2–3 minute Mozzer-led tutorials are meant to help you get the most out of our tools, and offer simple solutions to common SEO problems.

Take Moz Pro for a spin!

Today we’ll focus on a few Keyword Explorer and Site Crawl tips. I hope these knowledge nuggets bring you the joy I experienced the moment I realized my son doesn’t care whether I read him The Name of the Wind or Goodnight Moon.

Let’s dive in!

Fix #1 – Keyword Explorer: Finding keyword suggestions that are questions

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/qsj47h9qjk?seo=false&videoFoam=truehttps://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Search queries all have intent (“when to give my baby water” was a hot Google search at my house recently). Here’s the good news: Research shows that if you’re already ranking in the top ten positions, providing the best answers to specific questions can earn you a coveted Featured Snippet!

Featured snippet example

In this video, April from our Customer Success Team will show you how to pull a list of keyword phrases that cover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of all the related topics for keywords you’re already ranking for. Here’s the rub. Different questions call for different Featured Snippet formats. For example, “how” and “have” questions tend to result in list-based snippets, while “which” questions often result in tables. When you’re crafting your content, be mindful of the type of question you’re targeting and format accordingly.

Looking for more resources? Once you’ve got your list, check out AJ Ghergich’s article on the Moz Blog for some in-depth insight on formatting and optimizing your snippets. High five!


Fix #2 – Site Crawl: Optimize the content on your site

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/g5fgvl1vcd?seo=false&videoFoam=truehttps://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Sometimes if I find a really good pair of pants, I buy two (I mean, it’s really hard to find good pants). In this case duplicates are good, but the rules of pants don’t always apply to content. Chiaryn is here to teach you how to use Site Crawl to identify duplicate content and titles, and uncover opportunities to help customers and bots find more relevant content on your site.

When reviewing your duplicate content, keep a few things in mind:

  • Does this page provide value to visitors?
  • Title tags are meant to give searchers a taste of what your content is about, and meant to help bots understand and categorize your content. You want your title tags to be relevant and unique to your content.
  • If pages with different content have the same title tag, re-write your tags to make them more relevant to your page content. Use our Title Tag Preview tool to help out.
  • Thin content isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s still a good opportunity to make sure your page is performing as expected — and update it as necessary with meaningful content.
  • Check out Jo Cameron’s post about How to Turn Low-Value Content Into Neatly Organized Opportunities for more snazzy tips on duplicate content and Site Crawl!

Fix #3 – Keyword Explorer: Identify your competitors’ top keywords

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/ckmccmh9dv?seo=false&videoFoam=truehttps://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Cozily nestled under a few clicks, Keyword Explorer holds the keys to a competitive research sweet spot. By isolating the ranking keywords you have in common with your competitors, you can pinpoint their weak spots and discover keywords that are low-hanging fruit — phrases you have the content and authority to rank for that, with a little attention, could do even better. In this video, Janisha shows you how targeting a competitor’s low-ranking keywords can earn you a top spot in the SERPS.

Finding competitors' keywords: A Venn diagram

Check out all that overlapped opportunity!

For a few more tips along this line, check out Hayley Sherman’s post, How to Use Keyword Explorer to Identify Competitive Keyword Opportunities.


Fix #4 – Site Crawl: Identify and fix redirect chains

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/ylskjt9atd?seo=false&videoFoam=truehttps://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Redirects are a handy way to get a visitor from a page they try to land on, to the page you want them to land on. Redirect chains, however, are redirects gone wrong. They look something like this: URL A redirects to URL B, URL B redirects to URL C… and so on and so forth.

These redirect chains can negatively impact your rankings, slow your site load times, and make it hard for crawlers to properly index your site.

Meghan from our Help team is here to show you how to find redirect chains, understand where they currently exist, and help you cut a few of those pesky middle redirects.

Looking for a few other redirect resources? I’ve got you covered:


Alright friends, that’s a wrap! Like the end of The Last Jedi, you might not be ready for this post to be over. Fear not! Our blog editor liked my jokes so much that she’s promised to harp on me to write more blog posts. So, I need your help! Find yourself facing an SEO snafu that doesn’t seem to have a straightforward fix? Let me know in the comments. I might know a Moz tool that can help, and you might inspire another Quick Fix post!

Get a free month of Moz Pro

If you’re still interested in checking out more solutions, here’s a list of some of my favorite resources:

Stay cool!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-seo-quick-fix-competitor-keywords.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

With SEI’s help, high school students in Delta County install solar photovoltaic systems on their schools

Students at Paonia and Delta High Schools who are apart of Solar Energy Internationals High School Technical Training and Careers Pathways Program installed solar systems on their schools earlier this year.

Nine Paonia High School students worked during their class period for a week alongside Empowered Energy Systems LLC, who donated their time to the project, to install a 10kW ground mount solar system. The students learned about every step of the installation process from excavation and pouring concrete to setting the railing and wiring the solar panels. They can leverage the skills gained from this experience to pursue a career, or continuing education, in the solar industry or other technical trades. The system will output approximately 16,000 kWh/year of solar electricity and save the school approximately $1,500/year.

One of the participating students, Junior Harley Ewert, shared the value of his experience,

“Working on solar installation isn’t the typical education you think of having in high school, but it exemplified how important learning first hand can be. It is amazing how quickly a term or item can be remembered when it is tied back to a physical experience rather than a definition on a computer screen.”

At the same time, fourteen students at Delta High School worked with their science teacher Ben Graves to design and install a 5kW pole mount solar system as the first phase of construction in the DHS Solar Lab. This project was both designed and installed by students in Mr. Graves’ Solar Energy Training program, a class he designed through a partnership with SEI.

Solar Energy International organized the donations and installation of the Paonia 10 kW solar system. The Trina Solar solar panels and Sunny Boy inverters for the system were donated in collaboration with the Solar Foundation. While the funds for the rest of the system were local donations from community members, businesses, and utilities including DMEA, Basin Electric. Empowered Energy Systems LLC donated their time to install the ground mount and involve the students in a safe manner, and the AC electrical work was donated by Aubrey Harris from Electrical Service and Repair LLC. Teacher Ben Graves at Delta High School coordinated the funding for the Delta 5kW pole mount system. He was awarded a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Planet Stewards Grant for most of the major capital costs along with a Colorado Education Initiative STEM award. Delta County School District provided a large part of the technical labor and supplies along with technical consultation from Solar Energy International.

This year students learned technical skills during the installation, and over subsequent years students will have the opportunity to collect a variety of data from the system to accompany physics, math, or science curriculum in the schools. Not only will these solar systems be offsetting some energy costs for the schools, but they serve as an educational resource for years to come.

DHS students Sam Moore, Jocy Trevizo and Justin Hanning lay conduit for the Delta High School Solar Array

About Solar Energy International

Solar Energy International (SEI) was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization with the mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities and businesses worldwide. SEI envisions a world powered by renewable energy.

***

For more information, contact Beata Ramza at beata@solarenergy.org or 970-527-7657 x213.

 

The post With SEI’s help, high school students in Delta County install solar photovoltaic systems on their schools appeared first on Solar Training – Solar Installer Training – Solar PV Installation Training – Solar Energy Courses – Renewable Energy Education – NABCEP – Solar Energy International (SEI).

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2018/04/with-seis-help-high-school-students-in.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com