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But the treatment of major catastrophes as outliers is really irksome.

For one thing, it highlights that average quantities are not really meaningful here.

For something like wind, they might, because it's hard to imagine a single accident involving wind power with a large number of casualties. So the rate of deaths per TWh is meaningful.

But for something like hydro or nuclear, where a single accident killing tens of thousands of people is obviously a possibility, a number of "deaths per TWh" can well be close to zero before the accident and worse than coal after the accident. The outlier defence is less than convincing.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:42:55 AM EST
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