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  1. Thank you. Very good and useful summary.

    Comment by Tristen Taylor — 17 Apr 2014 @ 5:13 AM

  2. It’s not exactly that the monetary costs will be ‘quite low’ (0.06% Growth per year, etc.), and I think this point was made, but it’s that beneath that aggregate is a substantial– HUGE transfer of investment and wealth across all sorts of entrenched business sectors and interests, with lots of nested localized economies beneath the “country” level whose very survival is on the line (can a deep valley coal-mining town become an efficient solar hub?) As with what you said, these policy decisions necessarily transcend climate realities.

    When reading this report, I can’t help but think only the most shrill communist/monarchical government structures can pull off these kinds of feats. In America, the local representative system might make it impossible since it takes as few as five states to kill any program idea if its elected representatives find it a loser for them at home.

    And speaking of ‘home’, it needs to be said again– another huge killer of policy possibilities are environmentalists themselves who deny the reality that their backyard must also be a candidate for the large-scale deployment of energy installations in order to pull off what is said to be necessary — even more-so without Nuclear or Fracking, etc. Every wind-energy and biomass installation projects I’ve been around has faced opposition, and the most successful of the opposers have been, without fail, an environmentalist. They are the ones armed with the knowledge, can manipulate the liabilities, and are a master of appeals for further impact study/review.

    Given that it now can take up to 10 years to get a new large-scale energy plant installed and online, hitting those 2029 targets are going to require those who want to stand up for reducing/eliminating fossile fuels to also stand up to having lagre scale installations beyond-solar within their own eye-sight.

    Comment by Davos — 17 Apr 2014 @ 6:36 AM

  3. Most interesting. Thanks to Dr. Knopf!

    From a process standpoint, this part needs to be far better known, IMO:

    This implies that many of these issues cannot be answered solely by science, such as the question of a temperature level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system or which technologies are being perceived as risky. It means that science can provide information about costs, risks and co-benefits of climate change but in the end it remains a social learning process and debate to find the pathway society wants to take.

    …scientists are mapmakers that will help policymakers to navigate through this difficult terrain in this highly political issue of climate change. And this without being policy prescriptive about which pathway should be taken or which is the “correct” one.

    The headline item, of course, is the good news that:

    “Ambitious climate protection would cost only 0.06 percentage points of growth each year. This means that instead of a growth rate of about 2% per year, we would see a growth rate of 1.94% per year.”

    (A statement that surely will not pass without controversy here.)

    But this can hardly be called good news:

    the distributional effects of climate policy between different countries can be very large. There will be countries that would have to bear much higher costs because they cannot use or sell any more of their coal and oil resources or have only limited potential to switch to renewable energy.

    That bit is essentially a guarantee that the political terrain isn’t going to get any easier.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Apr 2014 @ 6:44 AM

  4. http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/04/14/ipcc-double-standards-on-energy-barriers/

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 17 Apr 2014 @ 6:55 AM

  5. Maybe someone can clarify something for me. The article points out that the consumption losses are based on a hypothetical ‘business-as-usual’ case. However – as I understand it – this does not include the possible impacts of climate change itself (i.e., the hypothetical BAU appears to be one in which GDP continues to grow at roughly the current rate). Firstly, am I right about this? Secondly is there an easy way to compare the consumption losses due to mitigation with consumption losses if we choose not to mitigate and follow some particular emission scenario. I have found a section in WGII that discusses the annual costs of climate change (0.2 – 2% per year) but this doesn’t immediately tell me – I think – what impact this has on GDP growth (which is what I think is needed to do a proper comparison).

    Comment by And Then There's Physics — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:25 AM

  6. @5
    The BAU paths do essentially assume continued economic growth at roughly the current rates, although it is more complex than just making that assumption.
    As for the Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) on which these projections are based, there are two differing philosophies. The first include both costs of mitigation and costs of damages and then perform a cost-benefit analysis. Models like DICE/RICE and FUND are examples of this approach. These are also the models used to arrive at the EPA social cost of carbon values.
    The second philosophy is that of a cost-effectiveness analysis, in which, for example, a physically-based mitigation target is chosen (2 degrees C, 450 ppm, etc.) and then the economically effective pathway toward that goal is found. In this approach, there is no damage function or cost of climate change damages included in the calculation.
    Fundamentally, there are many questions to be asked about the economic/energy system/climate coupled models that are used. The fact that many different models with varying input assumptions, technological detail and model solution techniques all come up with very low costs for mitigation is interesting. These can be interpreted, at least from the point of view discussed here, as conservative estimates of cost, exactly because the potential costs of damages in the face of inaction are not even included.

    Comment by Bob Brecha — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:52 AM

  7. Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report:

    “This implies that many of these issues cannot be answered solely by science, such as the question of a temperature level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system or which technologies are being perceived as risky. It means that science can provide information about costs, risks and co-benefits of climate change but in the end it remains a social learning process and debate to find the pathway society wants to take.”

    Ah, the perfect cop-out. Science, and let’s be specific, climate scientists, cannot answer ‘the question of a temperature level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’….. Of course not; if they did honestly and forthrightly, does anyone believe countries like Australia, Canada, Russia, USA, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, et al, would have signed off on that. This way, they can talk about continued growth, with perhaps a minimal reduction to pay homage to the need for ameliorating climate change, and everyone’s happy. Now we see the real value of the fictitious 2 C target. Nothing to do with avoiding the climate Apocalypse; everything to do with selling economic prosperity forever.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 17 Apr 2014 @ 8:11 AM

  8. In terms of growth, it appears that the US is in a good position. By cutting our per capita emissions down below 3 tonne carbon dioxide per year we can expect 2.4% annual growth. http://www.rmi.org/reinventingfire That is substantially higher than the expected world economic growth, with or without mitigation. There is a good opportunity here to partner with low income and low middle income nations that are already at that target level (Figure 2.) to help them retain their low per capita emissions status while sharing in our expected healthy economic growth. Our strong environmental laws give us standing with the WTO to impose tariffs on imports from the upper middle income countries with rising per capita emissions that don’t have strong environmental protection laws. The suggested partnership could be funded, in part, by the revenue stream made available by those tariffs. Legislative efforts in the partner countries putting in place strong environmental protections may allow them to impose tariffs on their own as well with out possibility of retribution from trading partners that lack such laws. That may give them a balance of trade that can assist with economic growth.

    On suppression in the SPM, news reports also indicate that mention of mobilizing large amounts of money for the sort of effort I am describing were also removed. Based on Figure 2. that seems only practical. Failure of middle income countries to commit to emissions reductions means adaptation costs will be especially high for countries with large historic investments in infrastructure. (Those without such investments will face morbidity and mortality costs in higher proportion to financial losses.) Foregoing development goals would retain money to help cover those costs while at the same time leave a number of nations at a low per capita emissions level owing to lack of development. Their situation does not improve and likely deteriorates, but they don’t make things much worse for everyone else either (except for increased military intervention the Pentagon is anticipating and large refugee burdens on some Continents).

    But perhaps the most important thing not mentioned in the SMP for understanding strange attitudes towards the present situation is that “Non-Annex I countries as a group have a share in the cumulative global greenhouse emissions for the period 1850 to 2010 close to 50%, a share that is increasing,” which is pointed out in Chapter 13 of the underlying report. Everything hinges on China.

    “Put in plain language: part of the growth of Chinese emissions is due to the fact that the smartphones used in Europe or the US are produced in China,” which refuses to control emissions in a bid to claim market share after accession to the WTO. Europe and the US have absolutely no choice where there smartphones come from unless they invoke the environmental sections of the GATT. Failure to do so is the only thing that makes them the least bit complicit in China’s sovereign choices on emissions policy. Free trade should mean global prosperity, not global destruction, which is why GATT is written as it is. It is time for Europe and the US to show leadership by imposing carbon tariffs in Chinese imports.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Apr 2014 @ 8:57 AM

  9. to “And Then There’s Physics”:

    A somehow lengthy answer, but the cost issue is complicated.

    The important paragraph in the SPM of WGIII reads:

    “Under these assumptions, mitigation scenarios that reach atmospheric concentrations of about 450ppm CO2eq by 2100 entail
    losses in global consumption—not including benefits of reduced climate change as well as co-benefits and adverse side‐effects of mitigation19—of 1% to 4% (median: 1.7%) in 2030, 2% to 6%(median: 3.4%) in 2050, and 3% to 11% (median: 4.8%) in 2100 relative to consumption in baseline
    scenarios that grows anywhere from 300% to more than 900% over the century. These numbers correspond to an annualized reduction of consumption growth by 0.04 to 0.14 (median: 0.06)percentage points over the century relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.” (SPM WGIII)

    Footnote 19, where the paragraph is referring to, says:

    “The total economic effects at different temperature levels would include mitigation costs, co‐benefits of mitigation, adverse side‐effects of mitigation, adaptation costs and climate damages. Mitigation cost and
    climate damage estimates at any given temperature level cannot be compared to evaluate the costs and benefits of mitigation. Rather, the consideration of economic costs and benefits of mitigation should include
    the reduction of climate damages relative to the case of unabated climate change.”(SPM WGIII)

    So it mainly says that mitigation costs and climate damages cannot be compared. One problem is e.g. that estimates of damages include risks with low probability but high impacts (e.g. melting of Greenland ice-sheet) that can hardly measured while the risks of mitigation can much better be calculated.

    On the cost estimates of damages, WGII SPM says:
    “With these recognized limitations, the incomplete estimates of global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of ~2°C are between 0.2 and 2.0% of income (±1 standard deviation around the mean) (medium evidence, medium agreement). Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range (limited evidence, high agreement).” (SPM WGII)

    Actually, it doesn’t say anything whether these are aggregated and discounted numbers over the whole century or whether these are numbers in a specific year and whether these are GDP or consumption losses, so it is even harder to compare to WGIII numbers, despite the methodological difficulties mentioned above and in the footnote.

    Hope this helps a little bit and at least makes clear the methodological difficulties in comparing costs in WGII with costs in WGII

    Comment by Brigitte Knopf — 17 Apr 2014 @ 9:09 AM

  10. An answer to “And Then There’s Physics”

    It is an somehow lengthy answer, but the cost issue is complicated.

    The important paragraph in the SPM of WGIII reads:

    “Under these assumptions, mitigation scenarios that reach atmospheric concentrations of about 450ppm CO2eq by 2100 entail losses in global consumption—not including benefits of reduced climate change as well as co-benefits and adverse side‐effects of mitigation19—of 1% to 4% (median: 1.7%) in 2030, 2% to 6% (median: 3.4%) in 2050, and 3% to 11% (median: 4.8%) in 2100 relative to consumption in baseline scenarios that grows anywhere from 300% to more than 900% over the century. These numbers correspond to an annualized reduction of consumption growth by 0.04 to 0.14 (median: 0.06) percentage points over the century relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.“ (SPM WGIII)

    Footnote 19, where the paragraph is referring to, says:
    “The total economic effects at different temperature levels would include mitigation costs, co‐benefits of mitigation, adverse side‐effects of mitigation, adaptation costs and climate damages. Mitigation cost and climate damage estimates at any given temperature level cannot be compared to evaluate the costs and benefits of mitigation. Rather, the consideration of economic costs and benefits of mitigation should include the reduction of climate damages relative to the case of unabated climate change.” (SPM WGIII)

    So it mainly says that mitigation costs and climate damages cannot be compared. One problem is e.g. that estimates of damages include risks with low probability but high impacts (e.g. the extinction of some small island states) that can hardly measured while the risks of mitigation can much better be calculated.

    On the cost estimates of damages, WGII SPM says:

    “With these recognized limitations, the incomplete estimates of global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of ~2°C are between 0.2 and 2.0% of income (±1 standard deviation around the mean) (medium evidence, medium agreement). Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range (limited evidence, high agreement).” (SPM WGII)

    Actually, it doesn’t say anything whether these are aggregated and discounted numbers over the whole century or whether these are numbers in a specific year, so it is even harder to compare to WGIII numbers, despite the methodological difficulties mentioned above and in the footnote.
    Hope this helps a little bit to or at least makes it clear that there are huge methodological difficulties in comparing the costs between WGII and WGIII.

    Comment by Brigitte Knopf — 17 Apr 2014 @ 9:27 AM

  11. “Furthermore – and this is new and important compared to the last report of 2007 – the costs are not only shown for the case when all technologies are available, but also how the costs increase if, for example, we would dispense with nuclear power worldwide or if solar and wind energy remain more expensive than expected.”

    I guess data shuts down in this report at around 2010. It has been mentioned at times, and borne out in 2011, that nuclear power disasters can increase emissions. Our current rate of major accidents is about one every twenty years, but most new nuclear builds are being done on the cheap, so we might expect that rate to increase owing to neglect of safety considerations. Further, in economies where nuclear safety is taken seriously, nuclear power in known to have a high opportunity cost with respect to other low carbon energy sources: http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/E09-01_NuclearPowerClimateFixOrFolly leading to slowed mitigation efforts. And, in the US. existing nuclear power is being phased out owing, in part, to competition from wind energy, which presumably reduces the claimed phase out cost in Table SPM 2. Perhaps the report is not sufficiently up-to-date in this area to be a reliable guide on policy.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Apr 2014 @ 10:11 AM

  12. 2 Davos says …And speaking of ‘home’, it needs to be said again– another huge killer of policy possibilities are environmentalists themselves… Every wind-energy and biomass installation projects I’ve been around has faced opposition, and the most successful of the opposers have been, without fail, an environmentalist…

    A useful reminder that “environmentalist” does not equal sustainability-ist. (Yes, I make up words.)

    hitting those 2029 targets are going to require those who want to stand up for reducing/eliminating fossile fuels to also stand up to having lagre scale installations beyond-solar within their own eye-sight.

    Well, not exactly. Since large-scale utilities have characteristics opposite those found in sustainable systems(Privately owned, growth-dependent, massive, resource intensive, technology-dependent), uh, no.

    Second, given consumption of resources is another spiral arm on this Perfect Storm, which the IPCC naturally ignores but we must address, and the resources don’t exist for current consumption, let alone growth in consumption, we may note that the economic considerations simply cannot be considered because this economy cannot continue, prima facia. We must reduce consumption to something along the lines of 10% of current, something for which the grid is not necessary. Thus, these environmentalists must get ready for local energy production. Given the pattern for sustainable communities is small, compact communities surrounded by land of various types of uses, and much more land essentially left “natural”, the scale and location of energy production will not continue to be major problem with environmentalists. Besides, most of them will be changing over to being practitioners of sustainability.

    (Looking for, but cannot find, a recent article in which a climate scientist talks about massively reduced consumption.)

    Comment by Killian — 17 Apr 2014 @ 3:03 PM

  13. Following up on Physics at 5,

    If sea level rose 4 feet and Miami (and the rest of east Florida) had to be abandoned, which is well within the upper range of sea level rise, the damage would be much more than 0.06% of US GDP. This applies to all sea coast countries. How does the cost of mitigation compare to the cost of moving to higher ground? What is the cost of current droughts, heat waves and extreme weather? Surely BAU has to include the losses from more extreme weather, drought and sea level rise.

    Comment by Michael Sweet — 17 Apr 2014 @ 3:05 PM

  14. 32 years of 95% certainty is why it’s called; “BELIEF”
    The debate is about why science has been only 95% certain that THE END IS NEAR instead of being 100% certain that the ultimate disaster of a climate crisis WILL happen. Scientists have doomed children as well so why do they perpetuate this costly debate? And do you see the millions of good and honest people in the global scientific community acting like THE END IS NEAR for them and billions of innocent children? NOTHING is worse than a climate crisis except a comet hit maybe but science is 100% sure they are “inevitable”. Science is 100% certain the planet is NOT flat and 95% certain Human CO2 COULD flatten it?
    Don’t tell kids that science “believes” as much as you remaining “believers” do. Your eagerness to “believe” in this misery is sickening.

    Comment by mememine69 — 17 Apr 2014 @ 3:21 PM

  15. Just curious, when exactly are people with science backgrounds going to stop saying economic growth and sustainability in the same breath?! The only sustainable path forward is economic contraction first, followed by the emerging of some sort of steady state economy. BAU can not and will not continue. To make assumptions based on it will not produce anything of value. Perhaps an economy based on producing very fine and sheer robes for the emperor is what these people have in mind. However, from where I sit, the emperor’s buttocks are not a very appealing sight!

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 17 Apr 2014 @ 6:23 PM

  16. Fred (#11),

    Economic growth is to be expected in an energy transition. There is new stuff to make, sell and buy. If you care at all about the climate, you should certainly hope for substantial economic growth.

    In these discussions, BAU has the meaning of continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions. It does not refer to economic growth alone, but the associated emissions. This report indicates that cutting emissions can be associate with economic growth so I think you are going to need to dig into the details and show where they are wrong. But, I don’t think you’ll find them down there below the emperor’s outhouse. There is a practical reason he is not wearing pants when you are looking up from there.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:26 PM

  17. mememine69 @~ 13
    Bore Hole worthy gibberish?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:38 PM

  18. Michael (#12),

    GDP turns out to be a slippery measure for disaster loss. The economic activity of disaster recovery can lead to a GDP gain. http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/09/01-disasters-stimulus-baily

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:39 PM

  19. I really don’t understand why the IPCC is coming with reports like this. They are worse than useless because the core issue is completely ignored, which means that we are focusing on irrelevant questions. And the core issue is growth itself.

    You cannot have infinite growth in a finite system. It’s a simple as that and it does not matter whether it is fossil-fuel based or based on something else:

    1. Perpetual motion machines are a physical impossibility.
    2. There is the famous Liebig’s law of the minimum, i.e. that the growth of a system is limited by the vital resource that is in least abundance relative to the requirements of that growth.

    The whole vast enterprise of the IPCC and all the highly politically charged discussion of climate change is focused on JUST ONE vitally important resource – in this case the capacity of the planet’s atmosphere to absorb our waste. But there are dozens of others the limits of which we are on a head-on collision course with – somewhat ironically, fossil fuels themselves, fertile soil, fresh water, a long list of mineral resources, we are completely wrecking the biodiversity and the ecosystems of the planet, and so on and so on.

    These are all just different symptoms of the same problem and have the same solution. The problem is that we have a socioeconomic system that is founded on the assumption of infinite growth, and requires it for its continued existence, and the solution is to dismantle that system and replace with a steady state system (of much smaller absolute size). Otherwise there can be only one outcome and it is only a question of which resource limit (or combination of) will cause the collapse of civilization first.

    So why is the IPCC talking about how it is going to be cheap to tackle climate change on the scale of the projected future economic growth when they should be talking about how that growth should never happen in the first place? It will not happen anyway – the system will collapse long before the economy grows tenfold relative to its current size, the resources simply aren’t there. There are hard physical limits to efficiency – it takes a minimum amount of energy to move an object from point A to point B – while economic growth is exponential and never ending.

    I understand the political situation – if the IPCC did in fact come out with a “end economic growth” message, that would be completely politically unacceptable and will only feed into the anti-science propaganda on the other side. But by not doing that, the outcome is not going to be any good either – at least try to start the conversation…

    Comment by Georgi Marinov — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:54 PM

  20. In many ways, I wish the IPCC would not succumb to the urge to address issues e.g. the law, governance or ethics, because it usually does a bad job, as it did here. There’s an incredible wealth of literature that has developed around this topic, and the IPCC manages to distill very little of it. and not very well. Stick to your core mission, IPCC, unless your heart is really in it, in which case, you need to bring in a broader swath of stakeholders to prepare sections of this genus.

    Comment by Wil Burns — 17 Apr 2014 @ 7:59 PM

  21. Killian says:
    17 Apr 2014 at 3:03 PM
    (Looking for, but cannot find, a recent article in which a climate scientist talks about massively reduced consumption.)

    Unfortunately, it is not just consumption, there is also population, an even less popular topic…

    Comment by Georgi Marinov — 17 Apr 2014 @ 8:07 PM

  22. Gavin, a very highly moderated thread could help maintain focus here.

    Dr. Knopf, thank you, please stay with us.

    One question that occurred to me on first reading your first posted draft was about Greenland — you wrote “risks with low probability but high impacts (e.g. melting of Greenland ice-sheet)”

    I see that on your rewrite a few minutes later you instead use low lying islands as the example for that kind of risk.

    I’m guessing sea level rise seems more predictable over the next few centuries and part of the larger report.

    Is Greenland not a good example for low probability high impact because the eventual impact, even if more probable in the long term, falls beyond the time horizon considered in this report?

    I recall
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n6/abs/nclimate1449.html has some time estimates.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Apr 2014 @ 9:19 PM

  23. From the main post: “Many models could not achieve atmospheric concentration levels of about 450 ppm CO2eq by 2100…”

    Aren’t we already close to 450 ppm CO2eq already?

    Do these models include any carbon feedbacks?

    Comment by wili — 17 Apr 2014 @ 9:44 PM

  24. 11 Chris Dudley: Nuclear power is off topic.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 17 Apr 2014 @ 9:57 PM

  25. @Killian, Kevin Anderson of Tyndall Centre and University of Manchester has written and spoken about the need for massive demand-side reductions many times, often with his colleague, Alice Bows. See https://vimeo.com/62871951. There are probably others.

    Comment by Jan Galkowski — 17 Apr 2014 @ 11:24 PM

  26. @5, @6, @16 on cost metrics:
    Anybody who is interested to learn more about the different cost concepts used for mitigation, e.g. about the difference between GDP and consumption, here is a very good overview of cost concepts for climate change mitigation by MIT and IPCC author Paltsev et al.:
    http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/S2010007813400034

    Comment by Brigitte Knopf — 18 Apr 2014 @ 1:03 AM

  27. Comment by mememine69

    Liberty University Grad?

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 18 Apr 2014 @ 2:14 AM

  28. Brigitte (and others),

    Thanks for the response. From what you say, it sounds as though when people like Lomborg (for example) quote some numbers out of WGII and then compare then with some numbers out of WGIII, they are – at best – making comparisons that don’t really make sense. Is that a fair conclusion?

    Comment by And Then There's Physics — 18 Apr 2014 @ 4:24 AM

  29. @23
    Concerning your question on 450ppm CO2eq. We are today at a concentration of about 400ppm CO2 only, but not CO2-eq (equivalent).

    In the SPM WGIII they give a reference for 2011:

    “For comparison, the CO2eq concentration in 2011 is estimated to be 430 ppm (uncertainty
    range 340–520 ppm) footnote13.
    Footnote 13: This is based on the assessment of total anthropogenic radiative forcing for 2011 relative to 1750 in WGI, i.e. 2.3 W m‐2, uncertainty range 1.1 to 3.3 W m‐2. [WGI AR5 Figure SPM.5, WGI 8.5, WGI 12.3]” (SPM WGIII).

    Comment by Brigitte Knopf — 18 Apr 2014 @ 7:30 AM

  30. @28

    I cannot comment on what Lomborg says or compares. But indeed many non-experts who are comparing the numbers of WGII and WGIII are comparing apples with pears. There is no direct comparison possible with the numbers and the metrics given in both reports.

    Comment by Brigitte Knopf — 18 Apr 2014 @ 7:37 AM

  31. @22

    The first post was by accident, so it didn’t mean that melting of the Greenland Ice-sheet is not a big risk, indeed it is. But examples like Santa Lucia or the Maldives are very prominent in this respect, also in the UNFCCC negotiations, because how much do you weight the risk that hundreds of people lose their homes?

    Comment by Brigitte Knopf — 18 Apr 2014 @ 7:41 AM

  32. From the main post: “Probably not everyone likes to hear that CCS is a very important technology for keeping to the 2-degree limit and the report itself cautions that CCS and BECCS are not yet available at a large scale and also involve some risks.”

    So if the projections that say we can easily stay below 2 degrees all require massive deployment of technologies that, generously stated “are not yet available at a large scale,” how much are such plans different than relying pixie dust?

    The whole program strikes me as shockingly disingenuous. I would dearly like to hear what the site administrators here thing of it. Did they post it because the judge it to be a valid assessment of the real possibilities? Or just because it was put out by the IPCC, is widely reported on, and so is worthy of discussion?

    Comment by wili — 18 Apr 2014 @ 8:52 AM

  33. Georgi (#19),

    Growth at 2% for 35 years doubles the economy, which is far short of a ten-fold increase. Surely, you would not begrudge the economic prosperity that under-girds demographic models of stabilized world population?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 9:05 AM

  34. Edward (#24),

    Look at Table SPM 2. It appears to be on topic.

    [edit – no. Nuclear is always off topic here. It never goes anywhere and no-one leaves any the wiser. Take your discussions on that to Barry Brooks site.]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 9:40 AM

  35. An excellent layperson’s introduction to the issues involved here – to integrated assessment models, cost-benefit analyses, discount rates, carbon prices and so forth – is William Nordhaus’ The Climate Ca#ino. There are a lot of popular books on the science and politics of global warming, but not so many on the economics. (Note, I’ve had to misspell a word in the title and use tinyurl to get this past the spam filter.)

    Comment by Danny Yee — 18 Apr 2014 @ 9:40 AM

  36. Edward Greisch wrote (#24): “Chris Dudley: Nuclear power is off topic.”

    But, Edward — just a few comments earlier, you linked to a lengthy article from the pro-nuclear advocacy site, Brave New Climate, which critized the WG III report for an alleged “double standard in how IPCC depicts problems with nuclear versus renewable energy”.

    But then when Chris Dudley posts a comment addressing that very topic — a comment which is skeptical of the point of view you linked to earlier and may well have been prompted by that link — you declare that “nuclear power is off topic”.

    Which seems like a bit of a double standard.

    Perhaps you should say what you have to say about the WG III report, and leave it to the moderators to say what’s off-topic and what’s not.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 18 Apr 2014 @ 10:09 AM

  37. Brigtte (#26),

    Thanks for the link. I notice this statement: “Decarbonization of power generation implies higher costs per unit of output compared to a base case, as carbon-free generation is more expensive than conventional generation.”

    Interestingly, Germany in particular, has noticed that economies of scale have not yet been fully exploited for “carbon-free generation” and thus there is room to cut costs. Thankfully, owing in part to their efforts to prime the pump on this, the statement in your link no longer seems to be valid. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/13/solar-sold-less-5%C2%A2kwh-austin-texas/

    Costs are anticipated to fall further.

    On a pedantic note, fossil fuel costs have rarely been lower than hydro electric costs so in one sense carbon-free generation has generally been less expensive than conventional generation.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 10:35 AM

  38. Editor @33,

    I thought is was the jawboning about unconventional nuclear technologies that was considered pointless. More up-to-date costs estimates than available to the IPCC for the technologies they considered would seem to be an important aspect in evaluating the present report since that is the big take-away from it. If the sixth entry in Table SPM 2. has the wrong sign, that may have policy consequences. Relative costs of energy sources seems to be one of the core topic of this post.

    And, it is brought forward by the author as well: “…the costs are not only shown for the case when all technologies are available, but also how the costs increase if, for example, we would dispense with nuclear power worldwide or if solar and wind energy remain more expensive than expected.”

    Present market information, such as Austin Power’s purchase of solar power for less that $0.05/kWh and Excelon statements about plant closures owing to competition from wind energy suggest that these features of the report may not be helpful. http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/lasvegas/power-price-recovery-may-be-too-late-to-aid-its-21452315

    It has been noted frequently that IPCC reports are necessarily out-of-date in some areas owing to rapidly evolving research not matching their deliberative timescale. Markets also have momentum, and are shifting more rapidly where innovation is involved. Bringing to light areas where the deliberative process may be impeding presenting the most complete picture possible (absent such time delays) would seem to be a very important function of this type of discussion.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 11:29 AM

  39. Brigtte (#30),

    The IPCC has been issuing more frequent interim reports. Do you think an methods reconciliation between WG II and WG III on this point might be forthcoming in a year or two?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 12:08 PM

  40. 2 Davos:

    Every wind-energy and biomass installation projects I’ve been around has faced opposition, and the most successful of the opposers have been, without fail, an environmentalist…

    As with “skeptic”, anybody can call themselves an environmentalist, and nobody owns the word. FWIW, if I’m up against a wall I say I’m a Conservationist, because Homo sapiens isn’t the only species occupying the Earth.

    IMO the threat posed by climate change doesn’t justify ignoring the externalities associated with renewable energy production. Political labels notwithstanding, if “environmentalism” means anything, it means acknowledging that all the costs of economic prosperity are paid by someone, somewhere in the biosphere, at some time. Does anyone here (excepting the troll-bot ‘nymed mememine69, perhaps) really want to argue with that?

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 18 Apr 2014 @ 12:24 PM

  41. Since the growing world economy is such a major contributor to the release of greenhouse gases, should it mean that production of those products that release carbon emissions be slowed down or completely terminated, or should the cost of these products increase as a result of the implementation of so-called new eco-friendly methods of production?

    Comment by CCS*735 — 18 Apr 2014 @ 12:37 PM

  42. Note, the inline comments usually have a green font that is missing at #33, so — mentioning that’s there.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Apr 2014 @ 3:36 PM

  43. Chris Dudley says:
    18 Apr 2014 at 9:05 AM
    Georgi (#19),

    Growth at 2% for 35 years doubles the economy, which is far short of a ten-fold increase. Surely, you would not begrudge the economic prosperity that under-girds demographic models of stabilized world population?

    1) 2% growth is not something economists would be very happy about
    2) 3% growth increases the size of the economy 13-fold between now and 2100
    3) How much growth is sufficient? At some point you have to stop, do you disagree with that (again, perpetual motion machines do not exits)? If you don’t, then when is that point? And do you see the current system as being capable of saying “enough”? I don’t – it is founded and dependent on perpetual expansion.
    4) The demographic projections that have the world’s population stabilizing are founded on the completely false assumption that people will get rich and then have fewer kids. People are not going to get rich because the resources for that to happen are not there. Conventional oil production has already peaked, for example. You can therefore throw away those projections as largely meaningless.
    5) The current world population is completely unsustainable as it is, and so is the economy. That it might stop growing at 10 billion is of absolutely no comfort when we are already deeply unsustainable at 7.

    Comment by Georgi Marinov — 18 Apr 2014 @ 3:42 PM

  44. George Marinov @19

    “I really don’t understand why the IPCC is coming with reports like this. They are worse than useless because the core issue is completely ignored, which means that we are focusing on irrelevant questions. And the core issue is growth itself.

    You cannot have infinite growth in a finite system. It’s a simple as that and it does not matter whether it is fossil-fuel based or based on something else …”

    The IPCC is operating within a long established economic framework, that is, growth economies. Were they to exceed that bound and introduce the idea of a steady-state or no growth) form of economy, they would be risking any acceptance of their scientific findings and widespread an very serious criticism for doing so.

    Advocating a steady-state form of economy is indeed a legitimate advocacy to undertake and more of us should be doing so, there seems to be little doubt about it. The now defunct British Sustainability Commission did a good job of this and published an excellent report in 2009, “Prosperity without Growth,” which you can find on the web using Google.

    But it’s an idea whose time has not yet come, and it might well get swamped in the sure-to-come uproar over the next few years about reducing emissions, which is most likely to make what we’ve seen so far pale in comparison. This may be hrd to imagine, but when the beast’s back is put up against the wall, it’s probably going to react in wildly unexpected and severe ways.

    Don’t put the cart before the horse, and don’t worry too much about how reports such as are the topic here get in the way of the debate we really need to be having. If nothing else, they’ll reveal the futility of trying to squeeze modern science into an antiquated and quite obsolete 17th century economic paradigm.

    When staring at an edifice that’s as entrenched as growth economics, patience is called for. It’ll go soon enough and a steady-state economic schema will likely be at the center of any successful effort to bring emissions down to a level the world can live with.

    The status quo proves daily it isn’t a viable vehicle through which we can achieve the desired outcome. The sooner we admit this the better. But we’ve not quite arrived at that point yet. Give it another five or eight years, it’ll become the talk of the town and climate science will be heaving an enormous sigh of relief.

    Comment by Sean Rooney — 18 Apr 2014 @ 4:04 PM

  45. Seems to me that the IPCC reports remain highly politicized (and therefore unrealistic), presumably to increase acceptability.

    To effectively wean the world off fossil fuel by, say, 2080 would require 6% per year reductions in carbon emissions beginning immediately. In the absence of safe effective carbon dioxide sequestration or assimilation technologies, this implies abandoning fossil fuels at a rate up to 6% yr. Obviously, to maintain current levels of energy supply this, in turn, implies the substitution of viable alternative energy sources at a corresponding rate.

    Unfortunately, available renewable energy sources (excluding hydro) are inadequate substitutes for many uses of fossil fuel and, at present, they barely supply energy equivalent to the (mostly fossil) energy consumed in producing the alternative technologies themselves. Indeed, according to some comprehensive life-cycle analyses, certain sources of biomass energy are net energy sinks (and sources of carbon emissions). This is one reason why renewable alternatives currently make up less than 3% of the global energy budget and most analyses don’t see them reaching much more than 6% by 2030 (Hydro makes up another 6%, leaving us over 85% dependent on fossil fuels or nuclear ).

    In any case, in the real world, fossil fuel use and carbon emissions continue to increase at 2-3% per year.

    In this light, doesn’t the IPCC cost-of-mitigation/adaptation estimate of just a .6% loss in GDP growth seem just a tad naive? Is there any politically acceptable scenario by which the world can hold the line at just two Celsius degrees of warming (which, according to some analysts, should actually be just one degree) without significant reductions in gross energy consumption and the massive economic reconstruction (chaos?) and geopolitical tension this implies?

    Of course, if there isn’t such a scenario, then we are condemned to escalating climate disruption (chaos again).

    This is an archetypal case of being ‘between a rock and a hard place’. It suggests that the world should be contemplating the possibility that the short-lived fossil fuel-funded era of growth is over and planning a deliberate contraction toward a smaller, more equitable, steady-state economy within the means of nature.

    Perhaps the next IPCC assessment report will take this on.

    Comment by William E. Rees — 18 Apr 2014 @ 4:07 PM

  46. I am a reasonably intelligent person, probably better educated than most local and state politicians. I find the sheer complexity of the IPCC reports to be daunting. Even in discussions with like minded (concerned “believers” in AGW) people, there is incredibly wide variation in understanding of the science behind climate change and the nature and timing of potential consequences.
    In my US state (red/coal) 95% of our energy is coal fired, nuclear is not allowed, and growth and development is based on conventional business models.

    “…scientists are mapmakers that will help policymakers to navigate through this difficult terrain in this highly political issue of climate change. And this without being policy prescriptive about which pathway should be taken or which is the “correct” one. This requirement has been fulfilled and the map is now available. It remains to be seen where the policymakers are heading in the future.”

    Policy in my state will not change significantly in the next 20 years barring some catastrophe. My state is not unique. It is therefore up to the federal government to make policy. What’s the chance of action there? IPCC needs to prepare AR5 for dummies.

    Comment by Sterling925 — 18 Apr 2014 @ 4:30 PM

  47. Georgi (#39),

    You are a doomer. And, oil is the thing on which you are hinging that position. All I can say is don’t worry, be happy! http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/04/08/u-s-navy-can-convert-seawater-fuel/

    It may be that economic growth cannot carry on indefinitely, though with more and more of it happening in a virtual world, that is not at all clear. But, your demarcation of where it must stop seems disproved by it already having happened passed that point.

    Let’s hope that everyone in the world can find sufficient freedom from want to allow them to let their daughters and sons to be educated.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 6:06 PM

  48. William E. Rees wrote: “… available renewable energy sources (excluding hydro) are inadequate substitutes for many uses of fossil fuel and, at present, they barely supply energy equivalent to the (mostly fossil) energy consumed in producing the alternative technologies themselves”

    Neither of those statements are true.

    Far from being “inadequate” compared to fossil fuels, the solar energy alone that we receive in one year — every year — is orders of magnitude greater than ALL the energy containted in all the fossil fuels and uranium on Earth. Likewise the energy available from wind every year is far greater than the energy contained in all the world’s supplies of fossil fuels and uranium.

    And the payback time on energy invested in building and deploying renewable energy technologies (e.g. solar panels and wind turbines) is a fraction of their productive lifetime.

    William E. Rees wrote: “… renewable alternatives currently make up less than 3% of the global energy budget and most analyses don’t see them reaching much more than 6% by 2030.”

    Again, this is incorrect. According to the International Energy Agency’s very conservative projection:

    Power generation from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources worldwide will exceed that from gas and be twice that from nuclear by 2016 …renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years. Renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, up from an estimated 20% in 2011. The share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006.

    I recommend reading “Renewables 2013 Global Status Report” (PDF download) from The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

    Humanity does indeed face some daunting and perhaps insurmountable challenges, but obtaining an abundant and endless supply of clean energy is not one of them.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 18 Apr 2014 @ 6:19 PM

  49. William (#41),

    I think there is a problem with you’re numbers. A chunk of about 1.5% of present fossil fuel use must be cut each year to get to zero emissions by 2080, not 6%. Perhaps the year is a typo?

    And, beyond that, your logic is a bit circular. If you complain that we must replace a large energy source with an alternative, but all the alternatives are small, might they not be small just because of the way you’ve posed the problem? I mean, if we had to replace horses with oil and the only oil came from whales, would that really be a reason to panic?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Apr 2014 @ 6:27 PM

  50. William E. Rees @41
    “Seems to me that the IPCC reports remain highly politicized (and therefore unrealistic), presumably to increase acceptability.”

    Anything that needs the signatures of 199 countries to be approved for publication will probably have to be rather conservative in nature and in the case of climate science this means understating the case.

    While I presume there would be a grain of truth in an interpretation that characterized this as being “highly politicized” it would only be a grain, certainly not the whole truth.

    “To effectively wean the world off fossil fuel by, say, 2080 would require 6% per year reductions in carbon emissions beginning immediately. In the absence of safe effective carbon dioxide sequestration or assimilation technologies, this implies abandoning fossil fuels at a rate up to 6% yr. Obviously, to maintain current levels of energy supply this, in turn, implies the substitution of viable alternative energy sources at a corresponding rate.”

    In early 1942, the Congress enacted legislation that was known as “Total Conscription,” which conscripted nearly the entire economy to the war effort. Economic activity that didn’t contribute to the war effort was effectively made illegal.

    Now, movies were made and major league sports were played and Broadway plays were produced, which hardly would seem to be contributory to a “war effort.”

    However, there was a rationale, these activities were deemed to be supportive of both the public’s and the armed force’s morale; but just try to do economic activity that could not be so rationalized and which didn’t contribute to the war effort in some direct or tangible way, and it was no dice, you could be prosecuted, and some were.

    This was done because the nation faced an unprecedented threat, one that our leaders of the day knew would require every last ounce of productivity the nation could muster if it hoped to defeat the threat the country faced.

    Fast forward to sometime in the 2020s when the country will be facing yet another unprecedented threat, that of a deteriorating climate, with a continuing string of insidious and damaging weather events, extended periods of record setting drought, periods of inundation from way above normal rainfall and the floods that attend, and heat waves that will make Texas 2010-2011 look like a Sunday picnic … and prognostications that it’s all only going to keep getting worse, and you have a situation that’s eerily and worryingly analogous to January, 1942.

    What happens then?

    UN SECGEN Ban ki Moon said it a couple of years ago, “we’ll have to go to a war footing.”

    After more than 25 years of trying to get emissions reduced in what amounts to an utterly uncontrolled and uncontrollable economy and coming up empty, we may wake up to find ourselves facing a war footing as the only means left to reduce emissions to levels that won’t push Earth’s mean annual average temp over 3 or 4C above the preindustrial norm.

    This point is lost on most of us today; we can’t imagine what it will be like when we’re finally forced to face the music, forced by physics and atmospheric dynamics and behavior. Few people in November, 1941 thought for a moment that global war was going to erupt and change their lives forever. It was unthinkable. Total conscription? Bah humbug.

    But it happened anyway. Sometimes the unthinkable is what we have to do; we simply cannot allow our world’s temperature to increase beyond “X” level and sacrifice civilization on the alter of growth economies. Especially when there are better ways, ways that will be brought into the sunlight when we find our backs against the wall and it has become a truly do or die situation.

    Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary action.

    “In any case, in the real world, fossil fuel use and carbon emissions continue to increase at 2-3% per year.

    In this light, doesn’t the IPCC cost-of-mitigation/adaptation estimate of just a .6% loss in GDP growth seem just a tad naive? Is there any politically acceptable scenario by which the world can hold the line at just two Celsius degrees of warming (which, according to some analysts, should actually be just one degree) without significant reductions in gross energy consumption and the massive economic reconstruction (chaos?) and geopolitical tension this implies?”

    It’s only implied when you think inside the box.

    “Of course, if there isn’t such a scenario, then we are condemned to escalating climate disruption (chaos again).”

    The question is, will the world tolerate chaos, or chose a more enlightened way?

    “This is an archetypal case of being ‘between a rock and a hard place’. It suggests that the world should be contemplating the possibility that the short-lived fossil fuel-funded era of growth is over and planning a deliberate contraction toward a smaller, more equitable, steady-state economy within the means of nature.”

    A steady-state economy would result in an enormous reduction in the consumption of resources (by eliminating the enormous wastes that are inherent in a growth economy. i.e., a consumer-driven economy), with a corresponding increase in standards of living. Quality instead of quantity.

    “Perhaps the next IPCC assessment report will take this on.”

    Or, more likely, some other body will.

    We need not be too concerned about China or India or Brazil, they’ll be freaking out too and will most likely follow our lead.

    None of us should discount what can be done when the handwriting’s emblazoned on the wall in stark neon colors. Besides, it’s time we got rid of our antiquated form of economy anyway. It certainly isn’t serving us very well, now, is it? No, it isn’t.

    Comment by Sean Rooney — 18 Apr 2014 @ 9:47 PM

  51. @ William 41 & Chris 44

    In fact you are both right. William is correct if you reduce the emissions (~34.5 billion tonnes CO2 in 2012) by 6% of the PREVIOUS year’s emissions each year (2014 = 2013-6%, 2015=2014-6%, etc). While Chris is right if you reduce the annual emissions by 1.5% of 2012 emissions (half a billion tonnes) each year (2020=2019-.5 billion tonnes, 2021=2020-.5 billion tonnes). In both cases you get to about half a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2080. Chris zero’s out in 2081.

    Williams method is more ambitious on the front end cutting emissions in half by ~2026 while Chris’s takes until ~2048 to halve. Chris’s is the “easier” path. (Chris, I would panic if I were a whale ;-)

    Comment by Sterling925 — 18 Apr 2014 @ 11:00 PM

  52. SecularAnimist says:
    18 Apr 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Far from being “inadequate” compared to fossil fuels, the solar energy alone that we receive in one year — every year — is orders of magnitude greater than ALL the energy containted in all the fossil fuels and uranium on Earth. Likewise the energy available from wind every year is far greater than the energy contained in all the world’s supplies of fossil fuels and uranium.

    The resource is indeed vast but it is also dispersed over some 510 x 10^9 km^2. Solar arrays have a lifetime of a few decades, and you need hundreds of thousands, perhaps even more than a million square kilometers of them to meet the world’s current energy needs, an area you need to increase and increase together with future economic growth. Do you think we have the capacity to keep replacing millions of square kilometers of solar panels every 20-30 years indefinitely into the future? I personally highly doubt it.

    This is without going into the energy storage issue (still unsolved) and the fact that if energy usage keeps growing at 2-3% a year as it has so far, the planet will be cooked from the waste heat alone in merely a few hundred years (obviously something that is not going to happen but it is a useful thought experiment nevertheless)

    It also once again ignores the Liebig’s law of the minimum I mentioned above – let’s imagine by some miracle we are capable of replacing all fossil fuels with solar panels and continue economic expansions on a BAU course. This is highly unlikely because you will need to find much bigger sources of energy than what is needed to replace current fossil fuel use if you are to overcome mineral resource depletion (mining increasingly low-grade ores require increasingly larger amounts of energy), but let’s imagine it happens. It is still a death sentence for the planet because it means the complete collapse of its ecosystems due to the myriad other ways in which we are wrecking them other than climate change. There won’t be a wild animal bigger than a cat left outside of zoos and fish bigger than anchovies in the ocean within the next few hundred years if we continue on our present trajectory.

    Comment by Georgi Marinov — 19 Apr 2014 @ 12:23 AM

  53. SecularAnimist (#43) disagrees with my assessment of the contribution of renewable energy to the global energy budget stating that “the solar energy alone that we receive in one year — every year — is orders of magnitude greater than ALL the energy containted in all the fossil fuels and uranium on Earth. Likewise the energy available from wind every year is far greater than the energy contained in all the world’s supplies of fossil fuels and uranium.”

    This is true but not meaningful since we can capture only a tiny fraction of the global energy flow for economic purposes. There are differing data sets but the US Energy Information Agency is typical of mainstream assessments. EIA’s current reference scenario states that “Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year. However, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040” (http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/more_highlights.cfm).

    Now at 2.5% per year, the renewable energy component will increase by 85% by 2040, but non-hydro renewable will still only reach about 7% of total consumption by that year in the reference scenario. Including hydro, renewables contribute 16% (~26% of total electricity production).

    But the really important point is that far from declining rapidly toward zero, fossil fuel use is rising and is expected to dominate the energy budget for the foreseeable future.

    SecularAnimist also notes: “And the payback time on energy invested in building and deploying renewable energy technologies (e.g. solar panels and wind turbines) is a fraction of their productive lifetime.” Perhaps, but this is not good enough. These technologies also have to produce sufficient energy to mine and refine the minerals required to produce the equipment, machinery, infrastructure etc., needed to manufacture the alternative technologies themselves and then supply sufficient surplus energy to run the rest of the economy and society. If an alternative energy source cannot generate sufficient energy to produce everything needed to produce itself as well as provide for society’s other needs, it is not a viable energy source.

    Chris Dudley (#44) thinks “here is a problem with [my] numbers. A chunk of about 1.5% of present fossil fuel use must be cut each year to get to zero emissions by 2080, not 6%. Perhaps the year is a typo?”

    No typo. This is an error of interpretation. I wrote: “To effectively wean the world off fossil fuel by, say, 2080 would require 6% per year reductions in carbon emissions beginning immediately.” This does not mean that we should reduce fossil fuel use by 6% of present use each year. It means that we should reduce fossil fuel use (or, better, ‘carbon emissions’) by 6% in year one, reduce remaining use/emissions by 6% in year two and continue to reduce each subsequent remainder by 6% every year until we are close to zero. If we continued reducing emissions by 6% each year until 1980 (66 years) we would be down to less than 2% of current emission levels.
    PS: In my original communication I said “…just a .6% loss in GDP growth…” That should have been: “…just a .06% loss..”

    Comment by William E. Rees — 19 Apr 2014 @ 2:34 AM

  54. “I mean, if we had to replace horses with oil and the only oil came from whales, would that really be a reason to panic?”

    If you were a whale it might be!

    I do not want to derail this thread from the topic at hand but I find that comment profoundly offensive. I happen to have close friends who work within the field of cognitive neuroscience and cetacean research so perhaps my perspective is more than a little bit biased. However I sincerely hope that both the moderators and participants in this conversation allow my comment to stand. My point in doing so is that we share this planet with other self aware beings and we do not have the right to continue destroying the ecosystem on which we both depend! We can do something about it but they can’t so the responsibility to fix the mess we have created is ours alone!

    Homo sapiens uber alles is not a concept I accept and arrogant self centered individuals who believe that everything on this planet is here for our benefit alone and should be exploited are, as far as I’m concerned, a very large part of the problems we are facing.

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 19 Apr 2014 @ 4:27 AM

  55. Re #44 – Chris – the numbers are not 1.5% for 2C (well a 50/50 chance anyway) and it all depends on which countries you are referring to. Annex 1 or others. China and India are indeed expanding and they probably will not peak until 2020-2030 at the earliest in their fossil fuel usage. This means that the Annex 1 countries need 10% per annum starting now.

    Comment by Pete Best — 19 Apr 2014 @ 5:55 AM

  56. #14–That’s a borehole comment that has mysteriously slipped through moderation. MemeMine copy pastes this crap all over various news sites and never engages in actual consideration of anything reasonable. See, for instance:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mememine?action=comments
    https://disqus.com/mememine/
    http://staugustine.com/users/meme-mine

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Apr 2014 @ 7:52 AM

  57. William E. Rees #41 Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report,

    “To effectively wean the world off fossil fuel by, say, 2080 would require 6% per year reductions in carbon emissions beginning immediately. In the absence of safe effective carbon dioxide sequestration or assimilation technologies, this implies abandoning fossil fuels at a rate up to 6% yr.”

    To eliminate fossil fuel use by 2080, 66 years away, we need to reduce fossil fuel consumption by a non-compounded rate of 1.5%/year. That is essentially what the Ceres Clean Trillion plan does. With straight line consumption reduction, this means we would use the equivalent of 33 years full-time fossil fuel at today’s consumption levels by 2080. Do you believe we can afford to do that?

    The 6% fossil fuel reduction rate is what Hansen requires in addition to massive reforestation to keep the temperature from exceeding ~1 C. The combination is probably the minimum level of what is required to avoid ultimate catastrophe.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 19 Apr 2014 @ 8:11 AM

  58. People interested in this thread may also be interested to view a similar thread at neven’s sea ice forum: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,828.msg24501.html#msg24501

    Comment by wili — 19 Apr 2014 @ 8:16 AM

  59. https://www.google.com/search?q=William+E.+Rees
    may help Chris Dudley find the numbers if this is the same person (I don’t know that for sure). If so you’ll find cites on the publication page to sort out whose numbers come from what sources.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Apr 2014 @ 9:23 AM

  60. GDP is a meaningless measurement for assesing the future impacts of FF reduction. GDP itself is pretty meaningless, creating debt aka pulling money out of thin air is counted on the plus side as are all financial transactions even though they are extractive to the real economy. You could charge for not using energy and that would show on the plus side and show a growing GDP even though in reality less is produced.

    This report looks like something my son could have put together playing SimCity. It has no grip on reality.

    They are essentially saying we will have continuously less energy available for humanity and we will continuously pay much more for it but it won’t really effect society. BS!

    ANy aggressive build out of “alternative energy” infrastructure will require a significant INCREASE in FF use that would more than make up for reductions elsewhere, requiring massive amounts of aluminum, cement, copper, asphalt, and many more resources that are huge pollution emitters.

    ALternative energy devices are Fossil Fuel extenders. As long as we have FFs we can build and maintain alt eng devices.

    Please if we ever want to accomplish anything positive then lets admit the truth and work from there. One big truth is the only way to reduce CO2 is for everyone to do LESS and as long as the world revolves around exponential increase of debt thats not going to happen. All money everywhere must become more money or it goes away and what happens when your money goes away? You and your loved ones begin the process of dying much faster.

    Its the mindless belief in finance and technology that will be the end of us.

    Comment by Jef — 19 Apr 2014 @ 10:17 AM

  61. Kevin, yeah he’s a drive-by, borehole regular. It seems that every once in a while the moderators crack open a window and let in some of the stench of the outside world. I take it as a reminder that these discussions are not just academic exercises.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 19 Apr 2014 @ 11:09 AM

  62. @32

    Mr. Yee – Nordhaus’ book has a number of virtues but I wouldn’t describe it as excellent. Nordhaus is a generally clear writer and explains a number of concepts well. The heart of the book, his explanation of economic modeling of climate change impacts, is definitely useful. As with his other books, however, this one contains some significant defects. Nordhaus has been, and is, consistently tardy in recognizing the potential adverse impacts of climate change. In this iteration, he has a fairly optimistic view of the agricultural impacts of climate change, rather different from the more expert analysis in the recent IPCC report. This has a distorting effect on the DICE model’s projections. I agree that the basic discussion of discounting is solid but this book also contains a tendentious defense of his controversial approach to discounting. This is not new for Nordhaus, his early 90s book, which is a more technical description of the construction of the DICE model, contains a similar defense, which is accompanied (in a footnote) by a remarkable implicit admission that his approach is a mistake. The final section, on politics of global warming, is surprisingly naive for an individual of Nordhaus’ stature and experience.

    Comment by Roger Albin — 19 Apr 2014 @ 11:13 AM

  63. Hank (#45),

    I suspect a typo: 2080 instead of 2030. 8% annual cuts have been called for in the past based on ecological concerns. http://www.gp.org/earth-day-2006 RCP2.6 is a compromise along the lines of the Targets paper. As a coauthor of that earlier call, I can say that I’ve been surprised at the amount of cushion the ecological issues have in the new WG II report. Extinctions seem to be avoided while still pumping 270 GtC into the air. On the other hand, the advent of dangerous climate change flips priorities around a little. It is a little ironic. We were concerned about protecting bio-diversity, a statistical ensemble, but then the statistics of extreme weather turned around and started killing off individual humans in an attributable manner.

    An unfortunate consequence of the Afghanistan war is that we’ve picked up the local tradition of blood prices for collateral damage, so it is a little harder to call for much stronger cuts than the RCP2.6 scenario since human life has been turned into a transaction rather than something sacred. Bio-diversity remains something that should be preserved for the future however.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 19 Apr 2014 @ 11:18 AM

  64. SecularAnimist (#43) disagrees with my assessment of the contribution of renewable energy to the global energy budget stating that “the solar energy alone that we receive in one year — every year — is orders of magnitude greater than ALL the energy contained in all the fossil fuels and uranium on Earth. Likewise the energy available from wind every year is far greater than the energy contained in all the world’s supplies of fossil fuels and uranium.”

    This is true but not meaningful since we can capture only a tiny fraction of the global energy flow for economic purposes. There are differing data sets but the US Energy Information Agency is typical of mainstream assessments. EIA’s current reference scenario states that “Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year. However, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040” (http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/more_highlights.cfm).

    Now at 2.5% per year, the renewable energy component will increase by 85% by 2040, but non-hydro renewable will still reach only about 7% of total consumption by that year in the reference scenario. Including hydro, renewables contribute 16% (~26% of total electricity production).

    But the really important point is that far from declining toward zero, fossil fuel use is rising and is expected to dominate the energy budget for the foreseeable future.

    SecularAnimist also notes: “And the payback time on energy invested in building and deploying renewable energy technologies (e.g. solar panels and wind turbines) is a fraction of their productive lifetime.” Perhaps, but it is not enough to consider only the energy embodied in the panels and turbines. These technologies also have to produce sufficient energy to mine and refine the minerals required to produce and maintain the factories, machinery, infrastructure etc., needed to manufacture, transport, and install the generating equipment while supplying sufficient surplus energy to run the rest of the economy and society. If an alternative energy source cannot generate enough energy to produce everything needed to produce itself as well as provide for society’s other needs, it is not a viable energy source.

    Chris Dudley (#44) thinks “here is a problem with [my] numbers. A chunk of about 1.5% of present fossil fuel use must be cut each year to get to zero emissions by 2080, not 6%. Perhaps the year is a typo?”

    No typo. This is an error of interpretation. I wrote: “To effectively wean the world off fossil fuel by, say, 2080 would require 6% per year reductions in carbon emissions beginning immediately.” I did not mean that we should reduce fossil fuel use by 6% of present use each year. I meant that we should reduce fossil fuel use (or, better, ‘carbon emissions’) by 6% in year one, reduce remaining use/emissions by 6% in year two and continue to reduce each subsequent remainder by 6% every year until we are close to zero. If we continued reducing emissions by 6% each year until 1980 (66 years) we would be down to less than 2% of current emission levels. I am reducing at the same rate each year (geometric), you by the same amount (linear). Same goal, different approach, but again the world is doing neither.

    PS: In my original communication I said “…just a .6% loss in GDP growth…” That should have been: “…just a .06% loss..”

    Comment by William E. Rees — 19 Apr 2014 @ 12:07 PM

  65. One comment. You can have BAU like emissions under a growth collapse scenario: massive deforestation if energy becomes too expensive or difficult to access (Indonesia, India, Southern Europe, Africa etc)

    Comment by drTskoul — 19 Apr 2014 @ 2:18 PM

  66. 36 SecularAnimist: I pointed off site to a place where that subject can be discussed. Nuclear is off topic here and on topic at BNC. I am saying that all discussion of energy sources should take place on BNC. BNC does articles on all of them: renewable, fossils, nuclear. All Energy articles should be taken down from RC. ALL energy comments, not just pro-nuclear comments, should be moved to BNC. BNC writes articles on energy.

    For people who want to read and discuss energy, do it on BraveNewClimate.com. That way, RC can stick to climate science.

    RC is too tolerant of renewables comments on energy. RC should be more fair and even-handed even if that means strict: Strictly no comments either way, not allowing the putting down of nuclear while permitting unscientific comments favoring renewables. Make them all move to BNC.

    RC should keep its scientific integrity by not being soft on unworkable ideas that a lot of unqualified ecologists happen to like.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 20 Apr 2014 @ 3:22 AM

  67. [—Please remove my immediately prior post awaiting moderation and replace with the following one (Typo correction.)—]
    Just to add to DIOGENES (#46) above:

    Setting up the integral and accepting that the area under the curve should be 33 times current consumption going out to 66 years, I find the smooth, compounded rate to be about 2.415%. This gets down to 20% of current consumption in 66 years, with the area under the curve totaling 33X. A compounded rate of 6% reaches 16.35X (better) under the curve over 66 years and gets down to about 2% of current consumption by then. 2% is closer to an acceptable idea of “zero” than is 20%. So I can see where the 6% comes from. The linear rate of 1.5% works, of course. But that is small compared to current use now and VERY large compared to later use. The fixed 1.5% of today’s rate looks very, very large downstream when every little bit will matter more. If 33X is acceptable (I don’t think it is) over 66 years, the 1.5% today looks like a rate 7.5% in 66 years when use is 20% of today’s. Better to get on board with 2.4% now so that it still is 2.4% then, as well. Or better yet, 6% now.

    This needs to be front-loaded, not slid forward until the last moment when political realities will be still more difficult.

    Comment by Jon Kirwan — 20 Apr 2014 @ 3:56 AM

  68. There appears problem in the analysis. I need to read it once again to pinpoint that.

    Comment by Carlos Aguirre — 20 Apr 2014 @ 7:38 AM

  69. Jef #56 – Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report,

    “ANY aggressive build out of “alternative energy” infrastructure will require a significant INCREASE in FF use that would more than make up for reductions elsewhere, requiring massive amounts of aluminum, cement, copper, asphalt, and many more resources that are huge pollution emitters.

    Alternative energy devices are Fossil Fuel extenders. As long as we have FFs we can build and maintain alt eng devices.

    Please if we ever want to accomplish anything positive then let’s admit the truth and work from there. One big truth is the only way to reduce CO2 is for everyone to do LESS”

    You make some excellent points here; switching to low carbon may not be a low carbon process. It would be useful to see a full energy accounting of switching to low carbon, including adverse environmental impacts that some posters have mentioned, and other aspects of trying to maintain near-present levels of consumption under a low-carbon environment. Doing LESS says it all!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 20 Apr 2014 @ 4:39 PM

  70. I’ve been looking at some tables in Annex III of the report. http://report.mitigation2014.org/drafts/final-draft-postplenary/ipcc_wg3_ar5_final-draft_postplenary_annex-iii.pdf

    In Table A.III.1. Cost and performance parameters of selected electricity supply technologies

    I worry about a few entries. Construction time for Natural Gas Combined Cycle is given as 4 years, which seems pretty long for that type of plant. Perhaps they are assuming that a gas pipeline needs to be laid?

    Some of the plant lifetimes seem strange as well. Hydropower dams are known to last longer that 50 years while the next entry at 60 years seems aspirational given what we read in the news. There are CSP plants that are nearly 30 years old and still going, so the 20 year lifetime in the table seems hard to justify. Utility PV doesn’t just last 25 years either. And, with the bulk of the investment in offshore wind coming at the ocean floor, it hardly seems right to pin its life to onshore wind. Those installations will last much longer than 25 years.

    Levelized cost for onshore wind seems to have a tighter range and lower median than given in the table: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/wind-energy-costs-2-2012_0.pdf and it looks as though utility solar is beating the lowest cost estimate in the table now: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/13/solar-sold-less-5%C2%A2kwh-austin-texas/

    If these two are beating levelized costs for some existing low emissions power sources, then competition should cut greenhouse gas emissions even if the old technology is driven out of the market. A market driven phase out might have the opposite sign to that of entry six in Table SMP.2 which presumably is safety policy driven.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Apr 2014 @ 4:40 PM

  71. William (#60),

    I took your wean to mean zero, thus my choice of functions. President Obama’s plan (83% overall) is for an annual 3.8% cut from 2005 to 2050 using your function. I expect that the following 30 years would have some flexibility in how to get where you’d like to get to. He does have a way point at 2020 which only demands a set of 1.2% cuts (geometric) over 15 years. So, he’d be shifting to 5.2% thereafter.

    Solar PV grew by 41% is 2013 and have been keeping up that kind of double digit pace for a while. http://www.pv-tech.org/news/gtm_and_seia_41_growth_in_us_solar_market_for_2013 Wind energy also has a strong growth rate but has a sawtooth response to tax policy: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/csteger/new_study_strong_wind_industry.html It seems as though those growth rates cover replacing fossil fuel generation. When SA gives to energy payback times, those include the mining and refining energy costs.

    You might enjoy running though a calculation that a trainload of solar panels delivers 200 times more energy than a trainload of coal. Berkshire Hathaway, be careful what you invest in….

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Apr 2014 @ 5:33 PM

  72. What Edward Greisch wrote @62.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Apr 2014 @ 5:57 PM

  73. #47 Sean Rooney says “most likely follow our lead.”

    America’s lead? What a joke. Anyone who follows America’s lead is a fool. American’s who still falsely believe you are a “leader” and should be followed are similarly foolish and not in touch with reality.

    Such misguided opinions about the world (most know nothing about) and your own self-importance within it, cannot imagine other people other nations being able to think for themselves and act without your grandiose opinionated input. Get a life! Or at least wake up. ….. “most likely follow our lead.” ???? what bollocks! YOU’RE the #1 damned Problem not the solution!
    Bruno Latour – The Affects of Capitalism http://youtu.be/8i-ZKfShovs?t=12m48s

    Comment by Walter — 20 Apr 2014 @ 6:25 PM

  74. In Chapter 7, I see a rather unwarranted claim that hydropower kills a lot of people. Flood control protects a lot of people over a long time. When it fails, people die. But those deaths are not spread over electricity generated the way fatalities from a gas plant explosion or coal mine accident should be. Overall those dams prevent fatalities by controlling floods and that is part of the reason they are built. Electricity generation is incidental. The source for this kind of thing comes from an industry that is known to spread a lot of misinformation. The IPCC should be much more careful in publishing such stuff.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Apr 2014 @ 7:28 PM

  75. “unqualified ecologists”

    ?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Apr 2014 @ 7:40 PM

  76. Chris Dudley @74 — You are simply wrong but this is not the best web site to discuss the matter. See my prior comment.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Apr 2014 @ 8:41 PM

  77. Re- Comment by Georgi Marinov — 19 Apr 2014 @ 12:23 AM

    I, for one, would be appreciative it if you would provide a link to the source for your estimate of area required for an all PV solar world. I am only asking for the area. I think I remember that several years ago Gavin plotted the area on a globe, but I don’t know what the search terms might be to find it.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 20 Apr 2014 @ 9:57 PM

  78. Here is a paper which seems to indicate that adoption of new energy technology moves along pretty quickly. Found it referenced in Chapter 7 of the report. https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/40211/1/Wilson_ClimChange_FutureTechDiffusion_Nov12.pdf

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Apr 2014 @ 11:03 PM

  79. I have a problem with this planning beyond 2080. Nobody has either confirmed or falsified Barton Paul Levenson’s unpublished paper “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series,” in which collapse is predicted some time between 2050 and 2055. The methodology is unconventional, following “Drought Under Global Warming: a Review” by Aiguo Dai
    atmos.albany.edu/facstaff/adai/
    But should that be a reason for not repeating the analysis?

    If 2050 is a cutoff date, the IPCC and RC are both hopelessly watering down the problem. The crash in the 2050s will end the carbon pollution. Can somebody tell me whether Levenson is right or wrong? Do you know for sure that there will still be a civilization in the 2080s?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 21 Apr 2014 @ 12:46 AM

  80. I tried to put these 2 comments in before but something happened. I don’t know what. I hope I don’t wind up with duplicates.

    “This implies that many of these issues cannot be answered solely by science”

    I have a really big problem with that. Species survival is a universal value, universal to all species anywhere in the universe. The issue is easily answered by the new science of sociobiology. Sociobiology is the science of morality and ethics. Look it up in the Library of Congress. A temperature level that threatens the extinction of Homo Sap or even a population crash is clearly too risky. No politicians needed.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 21 Apr 2014 @ 5:23 AM

  81. Jef:

    “ANy aggressive build out of “alternative energy” infrastructure will require a significant INCREASE in FF use that would more than make up for reductions elsewhere, requiring massive amounts of aluminum, cement, copper, asphalt, and many more resources that are huge pollution emitters.

    If that were true, then we would see fossil fuel use rising in correlation with the exploding deployment of renewables. We don’t consistently see any such correlation: it exists in China, and to an extent in Germany, but not in Denmark or the US. Consequently, absent any forthcoming reference or support for the statement, I see no reason to believe it.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Apr 2014 @ 6:45 AM

  82. In Chapter 7 we see this (where LOCE is levelized cost of electricity):

    “The LCOE of many low‐carbon technologies changed considerably since the release of the IPCC AR4. Even compared to the numbers published in the SRREN (IPCC, 2011a), the decline of LCOE of some RE technologies have been significant.17 The LCOE of (crystalline silicon) photovoltaic systems, for instance, fell by 57% since 2009. Compared to PV, a similar, albeit less‐extreme trend towards lower LCOE (from the second quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2013) has been observed for onshore wind (‐15%), land‐fill gas (‐16%), municipal solid waste (‐15%), and biomass gasification (‐26%) (BNEF and Frankfurt School‐UNEP Centre, 2013).”

    Which seems rather incomplete since the negative learning curve of nuclear power has become very firmly established since AR4. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421510003526

    Grubler points out that “while the nuclear industry is often quick to point at public opposition and regulatory uncertainty as reasons for real cost escalation, it may be more productive to start asking whether these trends are not intrinsic to the very nature of the technology itself: large-scale, lumpy, and requiring a formidable ability to manage complexity in both construction and operation. These intrinsic characteristics of the technology limit essentially all classical mechanisms of cost improvements””standardization, large series, and a large number of quasi-identical experiences that can lead to technological learning and ultimate cost reductions””except one: increases in unit size, i.e., economies of scale. In the history of steam electricity generation, these indeed led initially to substantial cost reductions, but after the late 1960s that option has failed invariably due to continued design changes (leading to higher material requirements per kW – the current EPR design being the most ”heavy”) and also increases in technological complexity.”

    And it is rather obvious that aquatic ecosystems surrounding nuclear power plants are under stress, so ever larger nuclear power plants are not really an option without expensive artificial ultimate heat sinks.

    It seems clear as well that growing knowledge of seismic risks adds to costs and existing plants may become uneconomical as happened with the Humboldt Bay reactor. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/nyregion/dozens-of-nuclear-reactors-must-prove-safety-under-revised-quake-estimates.html

    To make the AR5 paragraph complete the following should be added: “AR4 estimated LCOE from nuclear power of about $40 USD/MWh https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg3/en/ch4s4-4-2.html have more than doubled in the present report. http://report.mitigation2014.org/drafts/final-draft-postplenary/ipcc_wg3_ar5_final-draft_postplenary_annex-iii.pdf

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Apr 2014 @ 7:52 AM

  83. David (#76),

    You don’t really ever contribute anything to this sort of discussion since you just spout stuff from industry propaganda sites which is just the problem infecting the WG III report.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Apr 2014 @ 8:12 AM

  84. Here’s something that seems to me to be quite important in mitigation. File it under “energy efficiency”:

    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/21/passive-houses-help-norway-significantly-reduce-energy-consumption-carbon-emissions-research-shows/

    Although the case is stated for Norway specifically, this surely applies quite widely. Failing to consider passive heating/cooling when designing a new home is basically leaving money on the table, IMO–there are a significant options that have little effect on construction cost, such as suitable overhangs to shade summer windows, thus controlling unwanted heat gain–for one instance. (Deciduous trees can perform the same function, and frequently do.)

    Our next house is going to incorporate this in spades–and that’s not just hand-waving; I’m awaiting a design proposal right now.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Apr 2014 @ 9:20 AM

  85. Kevin (#84),

    The technical summary has this to say:

    “Advances since AR4 include the widespread demonstration worldwide of very low, or net zero energy buildings both in new construction and retrofits (robust evidence, high agreement). In some jurisdictions, these have already gained important market shares with, for instance, over 25 million m2 of building floorspace in Europe complying with the ‘Passivehouse’ standard in 2012. However, zero energy/carbon buildings may not always be the most cost‐optimal solution, nor even be feasible in certain building types and locations.”

    http://report.mitigation2014.org/drafts/final-draft-postplenary/ipcc_wg3_ar5_final-draft_postplenary_technical-summary.pdf

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Apr 2014 @ 10:44 AM

  86. Ed Greisch

    “Nobody has either confirmed or falsified Barton Paul Levenson’s unpublished paper “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series,” in which collapse is predicted some time between 2050 and 2055.”

    True. However, if you consult AR 5, Chapter, you’ll find that the picture is still not very clear–meaning that there is not at present a strong case for Barton’s extrapolation to be correct:

    Annual mean shallow soil moisture (Figure 11.14d) shows decreases in most subtropical regions (except La Plata basin in South America) and in central Europe, and increases in northern mid-to-high latitudes. Projected changes are larger than the estimated internal variability only in southern Africa, the Amazon region and Europe. Projected changes in runoff (Figure 11.14c) show decreases in northern Africa, western Australia, southern Europe and southwestern USA and increases larger than the internal variability in northwestern Africa, southern Arabia and southeastern South America associated to the projected changes in precipitation (Figure 11.12). Owing to the simplified hydrological models in many CMIP5 climate models, the projections of soil moisture and runoff have large model uncertainties.

    So it’s going to get drier in a lot of important agricultural areas, but how much and how soon are pretty uncertain. (It’s still being debated whether PDSI, the metric Dai used, is the best for evaluating drought–and it has been shown that results are sensitive to the metric used, so that’s more than academic.)

    I suppose it’s better than if we were definitely sure that what Lynas called “globe-girdling… drought” was bearing down on us, but uncertainty can be a false friend…

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Apr 2014 @ 12:31 PM

  87. Chris Dudley,
    I would note that Hank and David were making valuable contributions to the site long before you started posting here. Your lack of historical understanding causes you to say some really stupid things.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Apr 2014 @ 4:35 PM

  88. Chris Dudley @83 — False again. There is ample factual information.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Apr 2014 @ 5:20 PM

  89. David,

    There are “facts” in the report that turn out to be wrong owing to a dying industry flooding the literature with wishful thinking and FUD against truly clean energy. False accusations against hydro power are typical.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Apr 2014 @ 6:20 PM

  90. Regarding dams, here is Wikipedia’s list of failures:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_failure
    Note that the most serious was also a hydropower facility
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hydroelectric_power_station_failures
    which by standard use of unbiased statistical methods places hydropower well over in the dangerous category, along with thermal coal generators.

    This only took a few moments to find. It could more clearly be its own thread, for further discussion, on
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/
    where it more easily would attract comment from competent engineers.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Apr 2014 @ 7:22 PM

  91. David (#90),

    More FUD. Concerning the worst disaster: “Construction of the Banqiao dam began in April 1951 on the Ru River with the help of Soviet consultants as part of a project to control flooding and electrical power generation. The construction was a response to severe flooding in the Huai River Basin in 1949 and 1950.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam

    The Dam was built for flood control. Electricity was incidental. Go post on your industry shill site. You seem to like echo chambers.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Apr 2014 @ 8:45 PM

  92. The Arctic is warm enough that tundra is melting and releasing carbon. Now that temperature is above the melting point, we can expect rapid additional melting — regardless of human driven emissions of greenhouse gases in the future. Likewise, we have seen clathrate releases from the sea bottom and warmer water is already on its way from the tropics. Even if we stop human emissions promptly, past emissions will continue to warm the system and increase carbon feedback for the next 50 years. With recent and ongoing changes in albedo, such warming is non-trivial.

    However, albedo effects and carbon feedback are not in the models. We cannot predict the system’s full range of behaviors without considering albedo and carbon feedback. At this time we still do not know the timing or full extent of our risk from past emissions, much less future emissions.

    We were surprised by the Arctic sea ice decline in 2007. We were surprised by a series of extreme storms in the North East US, the Russian Drought/Pakistan flood in 2010 and the current California Drought. Now, it seems that all are tied to AGW, via changes in the jet stream. This change in the behavior of the jet stream is a big deal. These are extreme weather effects far ahead ahead of the IPCC timeline. The most serious issue neglected by the IPCC is that of large amounts of free water on top of the GIS. This means that the GIS is now inherently noncontinuous and cannot be modeled by equilibrium models. Violation of mathematical assumptions results in a chaotic failure of the model.

    As we go into AR5, it is clear that the IPCC never intends to consider the full range of feedbacks, and potential near term timelines of climate change. In particular, the IPCC does not have a useful model of ice dynamics.

    Your loyal Alarmist — It was 12 years ago that I brought up the topic of near term Arctic Sea Ice loss — and was called “Alarmist”

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 21 Apr 2014 @ 9:44 PM

  93. Aaron at #92: Your alarm is shared by many, here and elsewhere.
    “April Will Be First Month With CO2 Levels Above 400 PPM”

    “The last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were this high consistently was anywhere from 800,000 to 15 million years ago, various studies have estimated. And at that time, global temperatures were much warmer and sea levels were up to 100 feet higher.

    “Personally, I am alarmed,” Tans said.”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/april-will-be-first-month-with-co2-levels-above-400-ppm-17331

    Comment by wili — 21 Apr 2014 @ 11:17 PM

  94. One of the things I like about Table A.III.1 in Annex III is that CCS with natural gas has not been ignored. Most of the research effort on carbon dioxide capture has been aimed at coal, but as should be obvious, and as the table makes clear, CCS is easier with natural gas than with coal. The price of electricity comes out lower and the hit on fuel efficiency seems small.

    It also occurs to me that if we synthesize liquid fuels using renewable energy through hydrolysis to get hydrogen followed by catalytic reactions with carbon dioxide, we should have a stream of oxygen available from the other electrode that could be fed into gas turbines to avoid the need of separating carbon dioxide from nitrogen and argon in the exhaust as is presently required for CCS.

    It should be noted also that an interruptible liquid fuel synthesis role for renewable generation that covers aviation and some long haul shipping fuel needs, would make renewable energy mostly dispatchable and thus likely harmonizing the oxygen supply with load following needs from natural gas with CCS. Zero net emissions seems quite feasible so long as there is a place to put the captured carbon dioxide.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Apr 2014 @ 11:34 PM

  95. 91 Chris Dudley: Don’t be insulting. BraveNewClimate is not an industry shill site and professor Benson is nobody’s shill. BraveNewClimate has articles equal to RealClimate’s, but on the subject of energy systems in relation to climate.

    Everybody would do well to actually do the required mathematics to prove and disprove the efficacy of energy systems in stopping GW. It happens on BNC. What happens on RC looks much more like marketing when the subject is energy.

    It is well known that there are psychological problems with energy subjects. Let’s work to undo the psychology. We are in far too much danger from GW to allow emotions to get in the way. So Let’s take those subjects to the appropriate sites. RC is about GW.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 22 Apr 2014 @ 2:58 AM

  96. Edward Greisch #95,

    “What happens on RC looks much more like marketing when the subject is energy.”

    You’ve got that right!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 22 Apr 2014 @ 6:33 AM

  97. #91–Chris, IMO your comment would have been much stronger without this:

    “Go post on your industry shill site. You seem to like echo chambers.”

    [See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/mitigation-of-climate-change-part-3-of-the-new-ipcc-report/comment-page-2/#comment-507250

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Apr 2014 @ 6:37 AM

  98. Chapter 7 of the report mentions synthesis of methane:

    “Low CO2‐emitting natural gas substitutes can be produced from surplus fluctuating renewable electricity generation, e.g., ‘power to methane’ (Sterner, 2009; Arvizu et al., 2011), from other renewable sources such as biomass and waste, or via coal when combined with CCS; CCS can be added to gas production from biomass to further enhance CO2‐mitigation potential (Carbo et al., 2011). Provided the substitute natural gas meets the relevant gas quality standard (IEA Bioenergy, 2006, 2009; IPCC, 2011a), and gas cleanup may be required to achieve this, there are no technical barriers to the injection of gas substitutes into the existing gas networks (Hagen et al., 2001). Biomethane produced from a variety of sources is already being injected into a number of natural gas networks (IEA Bioenergy, 2011; IPCC, 2011a).

    But it does not mention synthesis of liquid fuels other than coal-to-liquid and natural gas-to-liquid methods. Given the high value of liquid fuels, they would seem to be an excellent target for pollution reducing efforts. (There is money rattling around.) The navy estimates it can produce jet fuel for $3 to $6 /gallon using the carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water and its shipboard nuclear reactors. In a European fuel tax environment, this is already competitive. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/04/08/u-s-navy-can-convert-seawater-fuel/

    Substituting low cost renewable energy for the naval reactor power may bring costs down further. While carbon dioxide (from coal plants) has been considered for use in a photosynthetically powered algal biodiesel production systems, the efficiency of solar panels over photosynthesis may make catalytic synthesis of liquid fuels the easier method. And, the oxygen stream produced in this manner has utility in reducing CCS costs.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 6:47 AM

  99. Edward (#95),

    No, its a shill site with a bunch of fanbois gabbing about unworkable technology that they don’t understand. The main agenda is trying to get Australia to go nuclear. http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/barry-brook-bravenewclimate

    Want to be disinformed? Go play at bravenewclimate. It is about a genuine as clean coal.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 7:09 AM

  100. Kevin (#97),

    Perhaps you are right. The initial “your wrong but I won’t say why” post had me annoyed.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 7:19 AM

  101. Aaron Lewis #92 – Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report,

    “As we go into AR5, it is clear that the IPCC never intends to consider the full range of feedbacks, and potential near term timelines of climate change. In particular, the IPCC does not have a useful model of ice dynamics.”

    Why would you expect otherwise? The IPCC is intrinsically conflicted and flawed. Suppose the Tobacco companies had been tasked to establish an international group of scientists to investigate the health effects of Tobacco. Each company would provide a couple of researchers from their Research Division, and the final document would be subject to approval from a member of the Marketing Department of each company. What would you expect the report to say? Why do you think the IPCC product is any more objective, given the inclusion of many strong fossil exporting and consuming states in its membership? All the omissions you mention, and those you may have overlooked, will only drive the results in one direction. Nobody wants this message to surface!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 22 Apr 2014 @ 8:07 AM

  102. Edward Greisch wrote: “RC should keep its scientific integrity by not being soft on unworkable ideas that a lot of unqualified ecologists happen to like.”

    So, as with DIOGENES, you seem to feel that the “scientific integrity” of RealClimate depends on the moderators censoring comments that you disagree with.

    Edward Greisch wrote: “ALL energy comments, not just pro-nuclear comments, should be moved to BNC.”

    Well, this comment thread is devoted to discussion of the IPCC Working Group III report, which Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of WGIII, summarizes in part by declaring that “fossil power generation without CCS has to be phased out almost entirely by the end of the century”.

    In that context, it is hard to see how there can be any meaningful discussion of the report or its recommendations if “ALL energy comments” — particularly those regarding zero-emission electricity generation technologies that are widely in use today and have potential to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fueled generation — are banned.

    And of course, “BNC” — BraveNewClimate — is a well-known pro-nuclear advocacy site, where critics of nuclear power and advocates of other zero-emission electricity generation technologies are routinely attacked as “anti-science ideologues” or “wind industry shills” in the same sort of personal, belligerent, and vindictive manner that a few anti-renewable commenters here are prone to use.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Apr 2014 @ 10:11 AM

  103. Arron (#92),

    The IPCC took a lot of feedbacks into account, many in Chapter 6 of the WG I report. http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter06_FINAL.pdf

    In summary:

    “Taking climate and carbon cycle feedbacks into account, we can quantify the fossil fuel emissions compatible with the RCPs. Between 2012 and 2100, the RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5 scenarios imply cumulative compatible fossil fuel emissions of 270 (140 to 410) PgC, 780 (595 to 1005) PgC, 1060 (840 to 1250) PgC and 1685 (1415 to 1910) PgC respectively (values quoted to nearest 5 PgC, range derived from CMIP5 model results). For RCP2.6, an average 50% (range 14 to 96%) emission reduction is required by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. By the end of the 21st century, about half of the models infer emissions slightly above zero, while the other half infer a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. {6.4.3, Table 6.12, Figure 6.25}”

    Ending emissions immediately pretty much ends the warming except where man made aerosols have a localized negative forcing. Those regions may not have much in the way of extra feedbacks.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 11:08 AM

  104. Arron (#92),

    Ending emissions immediately pretty much ends the warming except where man made aerosols have a localized negative forcing. Those regions may not have much in the way of extra feedbacks.

    The IPCC took a lot of feedbacks into account, many in Chapter 6 of the WG I report. http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter06_FINAL.pdf

    In summary:

    “Taking climate and carbon cycle feedbacks into account, we can quantify the fossil fuel emissions compatible with the RCPs. Between 2012 and 2100, the RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5 scenarios imply cumulative compatible fossil fuel emissions of 270 (140 to 410) PgC, 780 (595 to 1005) PgC, 1060 (840 to 1250) PgC and 1685 (1415 to 1910) PgC respectively (values quoted to nearest 5 PgC, range derived from CMIP5 model results). For RCP2.6, an average 50% (range 14 to 96%) emission reduction is required by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. By the end of the 21st century, about half of the models infer emissions slightly above zero, while the other half infer a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. {6.4.3, Table 6.12, Figure 6.25}”

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 11:24 AM

  105. #102,

    “So, as with DIOGENES, you seem to feel that the “scientific integrity” of RealClimate depends on the moderators censoring comments that you disagree with.”

    The scientific integrity, and scientific reputation, of any publication depends on a combination of what they choose to publish and what they choose to reject. Science, Nature, PNAS, et al publish a fraction of what is submitted; they have a quality threshold for what they choose to publish, which maintains their credibility in the technical community.

    A lot of what we see on RC is basically unpaid advertising, with no technical backup. In my view, publishing comments of that nature degrades the quality of RC. The issue is not censoring comments with which I or Greisch disagree, the issue is not choosing to publish comments that have little technical foundation. If, for example, someone suggests rapid installation of low carbon technology, and offers no backup of what it will do for peak temperature reduction or CO2 concentration reduction, that is not worth posting on a credible climate science blog. It is more appropriate for WUWT.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 22 Apr 2014 @ 12:46 PM

  106. So, what sites do RCers regard as reliable for comparative analysis of various energy solutions?

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 22 Apr 2014 @ 2:39 PM

  107. DIOGENES (#104),

    “If, for example, someone suggests rapid installation of low carbon technology, and offers no backup of what it will do for peak temperature reduction or CO2 concentration reduction, that is not worth posting on a credible climate science blog.”

    And, since this is exactly what WG III is proposing and in the manner you insist upon, I hope you will admit that the question is settled and we can rapidly deploy this technology without further objections from you.

    The question now is what mix of technologies? I suggest you pick from the menu of scenarios provided by Lovins and explain your preference.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 3:29 PM

  108. Mal Adapted @105 — I prefer to do my own comparative analysis of electrical power solutions as well as read and respond to the work of others on
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/
    for several reasons. One is the ease of use, with a thread for each distinct topic. Another is the highly capable and even handed moderation. A third is the significant number of practicing or retired engineers with considerable experience in electric power generation.

    The pro-nuclear claim about BNC is simply wrong. There is a bias, if it can be called that, toward truthful statements regarding reliable electric power generation. There certainly is a push towards what might be most workable for Australia. However whatever is workable for Oz is almost surely going to be workable in many other localities.

    I would be perfectly content to find another site on the net with the same degree of ease and a similar high quality of moderation. [As an example, claims for the LCOE of CSP have to be backed by suitable references. So do those for new generation nuclear.]

    RealClimate’s moderation policy is overly lax with regard to the technical analysis of various energy solutions. RealClimate is primarily a, well, climatology site, not an engineering analysis site. Besides, one of the RealClimate moderators actively does not want matters nuclear brought up here. I hold that the same censorship ought to apply to all proposed energy solutions, but I’m not a site moderator.

    In any case, the comment format here on RealClimate does not offer the same flexibility as that provided by
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/
    with a thread per topic.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Apr 2014 @ 5:01 PM

  109. Mal Adapted #105,

    “So, what sites do RCers regard as reliable for comparative analysis of various energy solutions?”

    You have put your finger on one of the main deficiencies of the climate advocacy sites. There is no such site that I have found. CP is excellent when identifying phenomena that will impact the climate adversely, but their solutions remind me of the tag team: Renewables uber alles, and no mention of targets! RobertScribbler is excellent on the science and the problems that lie ahead, but has little on potential solutions. Tamino is good on statistical issues related to climate science; again, almost nothing relative to real solutions. ClimateCodeRed is the best when it comes to setting temperature and CO2 concentration targets, and they have quoted some potential solutions, but they don’t take the final step to the hard solutions required.

    And, then there is RC. While they ostensibly allow some of the tough solutions to be posted, such as mine and Killian’s, they allow far too much unpaid advertising. We need a site that offers a platform to compare, on a standardized basis, potential solutions. There needs to be a combination of desired temperature and concentration targets, and the actions required to achieve those targets. I don’t see that on any site. It is such an obvious gap, I find it hard to believe it is an omission or an oversight. In no other technical discipline would such an obvious gap be allowed to exist. What’s going on in climate science?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 22 Apr 2014 @ 5:19 PM

  110. DIOGENES (#107),

    Now would be the time to read the WG III report in detail. It covers all that ground. It has some problems, but it is definitely and advance over AR4.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 Apr 2014 @ 9:12 PM

  111. I agree with 106 David B. Benson and with 106 DIOGENES.

    I see on 99 Chris Dudley’s web site: “I’ve gotten involved in a startup that plans to rent solar photovoltaic systems in the residential market. My guess is this is going to catch on.”
    Bingo.

    I find 2 Chris Dudleys on Google. One is an ex-basketball player and politician with a degree in political science and economics. The other is a countertenor with degrees in music. Neither matches “I’m an astronomer …… In astronomy, I’ve worked mainly on how intertellar [sic] dust can reveal the presence of super massive blackholes. I’ve also discovered some infrared supernovae.”
    Chris, you need to work on the CV.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 22 Apr 2014 @ 9:53 PM

  112. Australia and surrounding nations have good reason to be joined in a nuclear free zone. Weapons tests were forced upon them and they have suffered a great deal on account of that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_nuclear_tests_at_Maralinga In New Zealand, there have been straight out nuclear power state sponsored murders.

    It should be pretty clear that things are fraught when it was the Kyoto Protocol rogue John Howard who pushed for nuclear power. As usual, climate concern turns out to be merely cover on this issue.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 23 Apr 2014 @ 12:02 AM

  113. As I said above, and now others have concurred, this ‘plan’ relies for the future viability of the world our kids will inherit on pixie dust (or minor variations thereof):

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/23228-ipcc-report-leaves-hopes-hanging-on-fantasy-technology

    “[IPCC] Report Leaves Hopes Hanging on Fantasy Technology”

    “IPCC knows economic growth is the driver, but instead of suggesting that we dramatically ramp it down within a justice-based framework, they instead seek a means to keep the engines of growth revving, but using “alternative,” and so-called “zero- and low-carbon” sources of energy and materials. In so doing, they sidestep reality.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/07/ipcc-report-sucking-carbon-air-climate-report-biomass

    “the dangerous spawn of two bad ideas”
    “plan to worsen global warming”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26994746

    “‘Cinderella’ Technology.”

    Comment by wili — 23 Apr 2014 @ 1:05 AM

  114. To DIOGENES (#107): “… they don’t take the final step to the hard solutions required.”

    No one is going to touch that 3rd rail. It’s population. And it’s “population all the way down.” Not just climate, but deforestation, monoculture conversion, fishery and coastal environment losses, species decimation, quilting of ecologies, etc…. find this at their ultimate root. We damage our fragile planet in more ways than climate and in many cases that damage is profoundly manifest already.

    You can get mired in technical details about any other topic, but at bottom it’s only rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, without population addressed.

    No one dares touch the topic. (And ultimately everything else hinges on it.) Why should climate scientists take point?

    Not to be a pain, but I find it perhaps more of a distraction to press on with adjusting deck chairs around as though it made any difference, when we continue to ignore the fuller ramifications of the iceberg looming merely because we feel powerless to deal with it.

    Comment by Jon Kirwan — 23 Apr 2014 @ 3:00 AM

  115. David Benson #106 – Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report

    “RealClimate’s moderation policy is overly lax with regard to the technical analysis of various energy solutions. RealClimate is primarily a, well, climatology site, not an engineering analysis site. Besides, one of the RealClimate moderators actively does not want matters nuclear brought up here. I hold that the same censorship ought to apply to all proposed energy solutions, but I’m not a site moderator.”

    You are being kind. The most critical deficiency in climate change amelioration is the absence of a fully-integrated self-consistent plan that is implementable. At the core of such a plan are the targets and requirements that only the latest and most credible findings of climate science can provide. Logically, this site is where such targets and requirements would be enumerated.

    Instead, we get the article upon which this thread is based stating “many of these issues cannot be answered solely by science, such as the question of a temperature level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. Who will answer this question about required temperature levels; politicians? It is bad enough that someone would make this statement in a report review; it is unfathomable that the premier climate science site would allow it to be posted as an article.

    Unfortunately, this is a predictable consequence of what you call a ‘moderation policy overly lax with regard to the technical analysis of various energy solutions’, and what I call ‘unpaid advertising’. There is an increasing RC focus on esoteric aspects of climate science, and the glaring absence of the critical use of all that climate science has to offer in addressing the most critical need of our time: a fully-integrated self-consistent climate change amelioration plan that will offer some chance of avoiding the ultimate disaster! It is not too late for RC to re-focus on this most critical task, and to flush out the unpaid advertising at the same time.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 23 Apr 2014 @ 4:49 AM

  116. Chapter 7 has this to so say on open questions:

    “The current literature provides a limited number of comprehensive studies on the economic, environmental, social, and cultural implications that are associated with low‐carbon emission paths. Especially, there is a lack of consistent and comprehensive global surveys concerning the current cost of sourcing and using unconventional fossil fuels, RE, nuclear power, and the expected ones for CCS and BECCS. In addition, there is a lack of globally comprehensive assessments of the external cost of energy supply and GHG‐related mitigation options (Sections 7.8, 7.9, 7.10).”

    While fossil fuel costing is often a closely held trade secret or even a government held secret, nuclear power suffers from low-balling by usually a factor of pi, and CCS is still lacking experience, RE cost is very closely tracked and published. Chapter 7 relies on EIA figures, but much more work is supervised by NREL in this area. The trouble here is failure to look in the right place. Wind cost is considered here and in other publications: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54526.pdf Detailed information is kept on all aspects of solar costs. http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2013/5306.html The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy also has publications. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/47927_chapter4.pdf

    The information in this area is high quality and easy to use.

    I would note also that the citation to Jacobson and Archer seems pretty backhanded in Chapter 7. From the abstract:

    “[T]here is no fundamental barrier to obtaining half (approximately 5.75 TW) or several times the world’s all-purpose power from wind in a 2030 clean-energy economy.”

    Asked and answered, I would say. There are no real questions about RE technical potential. But, how the report can, with a straight face, rely on such large quantities of undiscovered uranium when it is so easily prospected, is hard to fathom.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 23 Apr 2014 @ 7:22 AM

  117. The DIO dedicated topic remains open.

    On topic: Is Asian Pollution Intensifying Pacific Storms? Separating the Hype from Reality.

    (Answer: no, in detail, with criticism for hype and overblown press releases and facile acceptance by the journal and the press and the crisis enthusiasts)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Apr 2014 @ 9:33 AM

  118. Financing rapid change is always a major component for shifting away from carbon emissions and yet I have seen only passing reference to a carbon tax with no real in depth evaluation of this as an option, despite numerous economists concluding that this would be the most efficient and rapid technique for financing a reduction a reduction in emissions. Am I missing something, or can the author/commentators provide any insight on this apparent oversight?

    Comment by Ken Lassman — 23 Apr 2014 @ 2:22 PM

  119. 107 Diogenes said, “In no other technical discipline would such an obvious gap be allowed to exist. What’s going on in climate science?”

    It seems you have the talent and the time for such a site. Go for it Dio. Fill the gap.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 23 Apr 2014 @ 4:35 PM

  120. While the actual articles posted on RealClimate by the hosts and their guests, e.g. Dr. Knopf, are informative, the commment pages have pretty much degenerated into a troll show, where belligerent blowhards like DIOGENES post literally thousands of words of repetitious drivel, with little content other than endlessly proclaiming their own greatness, and attacking other commenters with puerile name-calling and insults.

    You’d think that someone who really, truly believes that he has “THE ONE AND ONLY PLAN TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!!!” would get off his ass and do something about it, besides using it as a pretext for insulting people on someone else’s blog (using a computer powered by coal, at that).

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Apr 2014 @ 6:12 PM

  121. http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/04/scientists-licking-wounds-after-contentious-climate-report-negotiations

    A reminder to always check the actual text — not the headline, not the summary, not the press release, not a paraphrase, but rather, look at what the scientists actually wrote — the full chapters, not the summary:

    Scientists Licking Wounds After Contentious Climate Report Negotiations
    22 April 2014 4:15 pm

    It has been more than a week since a U.N. panel released a major report on mitigating climate change, but some scientists who helped write a key summary say they continue to smart from some disconcerting last-minute edits.

    “We are still shaking,” says Giovanni Baiocchi, an economist at the University of Maryland, College Park, whose work was central to the debates over the summary’s wording. The episode is making some researchers reconsider participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process in the future.

    The 13 April release of IPCC’s mitigation assessment—the third of three reports—was capped by 5 days of negotiations in Berlin over the wording of the report’s “Summary for Policymakers.” It is a 33-page boil-down of key points culled from the report’s 2000 pages. Unlike the text in the body of the report, which scientists essentially control, the influential summary is the product of give-and-take with government diplomats and requires consensus….

    … some nations, including China and Saudi Arabia, opposed including text and graphs that linked emissions to income levels. Saudi Arabia, which is in the high-income category, opposed mention of that category, for instance. And China, which is categorized as upper-middle income, opposed including figures that highlighted the skyrocketing emissions from developing nations.

    For three of the 5 days of the talks, diplomats from dozens of countries haggled with lead scientists over the issue. In the end, five figures and whole blocks of text were removed from the summary.

    “A strikingly large amount of scientific material [was] stripped out,” says David Victor, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Apr 2014 @ 6:50 PM

  122. Exelon is closing plants not because the absolute price of wind power is lower, but because wind power is receiving subsidies up front for the production of power which allows them to sell their power at negative wholesale prices. So nuclear plants, which require staffing whether or not they are producing electricity are naturally the least competitive in a market where production must be rapidly increased and decreased. Instead, coal and natural gas become competitive due to a greater percentage of their costs being in fuel. This isn’t a victory for climate change, it is a defeat. We are displacing low impact nuclear plants that were already built with natural gas and coal due to a temporary distortion in the market (wind and solar subsidies won’t last forever).

    The very fact that some climate change advocates celebrate the shutting down of nuclear plants is enough to alienate a large constituency and demonstrates a complete economic illiteracy.

    Comment by AndyH — 23 Apr 2014 @ 7:46 PM

  123. Re- Comment by Jon Kirwan — 23 Apr 2014 @ 3:00 AM,~#114

    Although you left several items off of your list, you identify the very big elephant in the room.

    Steve

    Comment by steve Fish — 23 Apr 2014 @ 8:06 PM

  124. Edward (#111),

    Actually, I need to edit the blog. That company did not make it far past the third Bush recession. However, the lease model for PV is doing pretty well under other auspices. You don’t know how to search the academic literature. Here is a link to some of my publications. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-abs_connect?return_req=no_params&author=Dudley,%20C.%20C.&db_key=AST

    A google search of your name does not seem to turn up anything interesting, but if you look in the index of Bill McKibben’s book “Fight Global Warming Now!” you’ll see me listed. You can also find some of my other climate work on the Green Party web site. Guess that makes me a qualified ecologists if I’ve represented my state on a national committee in that subject. Obviously, my background is more towards physics though. My graduate training in planetary and atmospheric science obviously helps me to read with understanding in the climate science literature and naturally I have a soft spot for the optical properties of aerosols.

    Regarding, nuclear issues, that is sort of a family thing since my father did his doctorate at Berkley in Oppenheimer’s group. I learned that subject at the dinner table, though I’ve also served on NASA gamma-ray telescope committees in a professional capacity.

    So, you decided to attack me personally, but I’d really like to understand your emotional attachment to civilian nuclear power. I’m obviously a booster for nuclear propulsion for practical reasons, but people who strongly support civilian nuclear power seem to me to be romantics, or paid like Rod Adams, or occasionally eat-your-spinach equivocators with no vision and little knowledge. Where do you fall?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 23 Apr 2014 @ 8:32 PM

  125. 107 DIOGENES, 105 & 106; “comparative analysis of various energy solutions? and What’s going on in climate science?”

    fwiw imo after looking long and hard – one will only find one-off narrow framed comparative energy data with targeted energy solutions/ideas that are not fully holistic nor capture all of reality. It seems (from looking at this imo) that most data is industry and govt based, and non-equivalent yardsticks, therefore one has to reconfigure for them self what they do find. The data is not verifiable and has enormous gaps in it, energy data sites acknowledge this. 1st world nations is fairly accurate over time, but under-developed nations (incl China btw) have all kinds of issues and so much of the energy data is a guesstimate, as there is no other way to do it atm. also as things move very fast with developments of FF and renewables it’s all but impossible to keep up. There is also the issue of claimed theoretical energy electricity output versus real world *capacity* that is compared on a genuine equivalence. eg nuclear 90% capacity output vs pv solar 15-30% in real usable energy form one day to the next. This is as complex as the climate science itself, so full of nuances, and yet globally there appears (to me after searching and searching) no genuine authoritative body that can crunch all the *real* up-to-date numbers. Further most energy data sources are for industry economic imperatives for pricing and ongoing investments and not so much about ‘climate imperatives’ for good data. How the various academics and climate scientists *source* and then decide which data is *credible* is a mystery to me, yet this is what feeds into the IPCC reports somehow. This is then mixed with *economics norms* which is always competing theories and emphases. Main problem here being economics is far form a valid science where all things are treated equally like a co2 ppm figure is clear as day. Politics then plays out in very different ways form one nation to another, and between say the OECD vs the BRICS social and political norms which are very different, and different again in the less wealthy less industrialized nations. I do not believe in any kind of nefarious conspiracy going on, only differences in how things are looked at. But different kinds of politics is always involved in some way.
    With climate science there #1 job (as fed into the IPCC reports() has always been to make a determination of how bad the “problem is or isn’t”. That’s been done. These WG3 reports and others move past *science* into the world of politically manipulated economics and financing norms. ON a human level look how much variance there is between one economist and the next one, and the differing fields of thought/theory about good and bad economics and models used. The drama over Toll in the WG3 is an example case of the arguments that rage in this world of economics, and it’s as bad the extreme variations in climate science “theory” between the consensus and the outliers .. but in economics, imo, almost all see the other as outliers. Political framing necessitates that economic views be cherry picked to suit the ruling team of the day. This is an extreme difficulty the academics/science IPCC process of climate determinations have when trying to decide what are the hard facts on which to base their analyses upon. The easiest thing in the world then is to criticize, find holes in, cast doubt upon raw energy data, and then the economic output of that. On top of that then comes the political realities of each nation and what is believed *possible* to change what is not. The IPCC is a political creation and that should be forgotten either. Science goes in but that doesn’t mean that good science always comes out. Being realistic about that is critical imo. The issue then moves to the UNFCCC, and Copenhagen in 2009 was, imo, a landmark shift in it’s work-ability to be aligned with the high quality *scientific* output over the science. The UNFCCC is far more politically manipulated than the IPCC has been. I think they are at a very serious *log-jam* moment of complete intransigence now. The best example imho is the shift to making a 2C target to stay under. This is a very flaky basis on which to make *judgments*, instead of say CO2 ppm. The later is clear and concise, the 2C is not. I can see a time when 2C arrives as a GMST increase, and the naysayers will then claim, well 2C is here .. where is all the doom and gloom? Ignoring of course that swings and roundabouts in Temperature is not valid basis on which make judgments about mitigation or adaption needs just round the corner. The climate scientists know this, how ever the political machinations and then the media reporting of such “grand goals and staying below 2C* is well, fraudulent and totally incoherent and unsound. So I guess anyone could say well we need a global energy data unit to spit out validated information of current and projected energy demand and use by nation and by fuel type …. yet who, when what is going to make that happen? A rational science based thinker might well opine should we already have that operating, like a decade ago at least .. and they would be quite right. The underlying but critical question is then to ask …. why is this so? There, that’s the problem and the barrier to overcome long before anyone can come up with a workable plan agreed to internationally to drastically reduce carbon pollution or cut down on energy demand per se. I think a quick look at the best state of the climate science and ppm readings and climate change impacts to date would or should indicate clearly that IF such a global energy data source be created, by the time the accurate data came out it may well be too late as the 425ppm, the 450ppm and the 2C become a past history rather than something the world community is trying to avoid. I don;t know what the solution is, except to say that both serous academics and climate scientists must play a critical role here in USING OTHERS who are EXPERT PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATORS to inform the public, the media outlets, as well as the policy makers / politicians in EVERY NATION (not just the US OECD) in REAL SIMPLE LANGUAGE that paints an accurate “narrative image” that represents the factual data accurately, as opposed to simply putting out “figures” for others to interpret what the implications are of those *figures*. Honestly even if 0.06% reduction in GDP is real, it makes NO SENSE to the average person in how will that affect me in my town in my nation in my part of the world. This is where the IPCC, the WG3, the UNFCCC rubber MUST hit the road, but it doesn’t. Might make obvious sense to readers here and uni graduates, but that is only 1% of the world.

    Comment by Wally — 23 Apr 2014 @ 10:20 PM

  126. and DIO, “What’s going on in climate science?” Well, some out in the snow and ice taking measurements, others are in tropical forest sweating like pigs, others are in NASA and the UE driving satelites around the globe, some like Gavin are in air conditioned clean air computer rooms crunching numbers and spitting out answers, others are making videos on greenland when the ice melts and rivers flood and destroy bridges, some are going to IPCC meetings, and others like Richard Alley are running online courses for the general public as part of their outreach program to educate the public know more, some front up at Senate Estimates hearings in every nation to be grilled by idiots and fools, and the odd smart politician.
    Meanwhile the blogosphere is full with one percenters either pro or con climate science spinning their wheels, or trying to understand wtf is going on here. Me, well I do a bit of that, yet I also write letters to my politicians about CSG and carbon mitigation fwiw. Dio you sound like an american, so if you are (or even if you are not, you can write letters to politicians and Govt department heads, a Govt Head Scientists directly … to the President, the Senate and Hosue leaders, to every one of the 100 senators in the US or your own nation, to Committee memebrs on the Energy Committee, to your local House member, your Sate Governor, the CEO of Exxon/Mobil, to the head of the OECD or World Bank, to the your local Bank manager begging them NOT to finance Carbon pollution businesses, or write to the New York time letters to the editor or in your hometown. As well as get on your knees and pray if so inclined. Meanwhile Gavin et al here are NOT responsible for what people do with their science, what the OECD do nor what the IPCC or the UNFCCC carry on with. The RC folks can only ever do their best, play a small almost infinitesimal role in the big picture, and like everyone else on the planet place another piece of straw on the camels back. It’s a choice.
    Meanwhile what’s happening in the science is thousands are out there right now making measurements thinking and preparing their next science paper for publication and going through hell on earth with the Reviewers and usual BS they have to put up wioth in a University or whatever … they are recording the state of the world of ice loss, glacier loss, droughts, winds, ocean PH and loss of corals so that in 6 months form now, or a year form now the one percenters will have something else to bitch about on social media sites and some other dimwitted politicians to open their mouth and remove all doubt what a clown they are. And Monckton et al will still be talking absolute shit. C’est la vie.

    Comment by Wally — 23 Apr 2014 @ 11:22 PM

  127. Why does the server tell me it is temporarily not available? I hope this isn’t a repeat.

    What BraveNewClimate does that SecularAnimist, Chris Dudley and the other renewables fans don’t do is math and arithmetic. Just getting a number from the planet between Saturn and Neptune is not good enough.

    [edit – no attacks on other commenters]

    Likewise, the other renewables fans are not believable because they don’t do the hard work: the measurements and the math. BraveNewClimate [BNC] does the math and finds the measurements to base the math on. Not all posts have math, but enough do. Renewables fans do not show me how they reached a conclusion. BNC does. BNC gives me enough information so that I could do a similar calculation and measurement.

    If you want X, show me how you are going to solve the problems involved. Compute the cost, don’t guess. Name-calling or slandering BNC does not work. Ballpark estimates are OK if you can show us that it can work. We don’t need a final budget.
    In particular, the battery. Wind power gives you 20% of nameplate power on average, intermittently. Solar power gives you 15% of nameplate power on average, intermittently. The battery has been investigated by a lot of people, including me. IF you were an astronomer, you would have shown us your calculations for how to make enough energy storage to keep heavy industry running at all times. Samples:

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/germanys-energiewende-shows-why-we-need-nuclear/

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/07/16/new-critique-aemo-100pc-renew/

    bravenewclimate.com/2011/11/13/energy-storage-dt/#more-5281

    bravenewclimate.com/2011/07/03/lacklustre-colorado-solar/
    Be sure to read the linked papers.

    ssis.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/RE.html

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

    bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/27/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-response-to-lang/

    bravenewclimate.com/2013/05/02/100pc-renew-study-needs-makeover/

    Note: You need a whole week’s worth of battery power in case of a cold cloudy calm winter. No fair using natural gas as a “backup.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Apr 2014 @ 12:15 AM

  128. How to choose an energy source:

    Cross off the ones that don’t work. Whatever is left, no matter how unpalatable, is the correct answer. The parameters are in
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
    “Running a 2 TW electrified country for 7 days requires 336 billion kWh of storage.” [For the US alone.]

    We want to eliminate fossil fuels, so no fossil fuel backup.

    We want to make steel in large batches. The furnace must run for 4 days continuously, no breaks. If there is a break, the ore and the iron will cool off. Bad. An electric arc will work as well as coal as long as there is no intermittency.

    Renewables are crossed off unless you can heat a blast furnace with battery power. Not one blast furnace, all of them, and the cement plants and everything else. “no one can point to a map of the world and tell you where even 2% of the necessary lead would come from to build a lead-acid battery big enough for the U.S.” [Also from http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

    What is left?

    Chris Dudley: I am not on your case. It is all about the battery. Or the room temperature [or hotter] superconductor going all the way around the Earth.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Apr 2014 @ 1:48 AM

  129. “One of these figures shows very clearly that in the last 10 years emissions in countries of upper middle income – including, for example, China and Brazil – have increased – ”

    Sad to see these 3 countries are bundled for emissions even by “experts”. China emitted 400% more CO2 than India in 2012: today oven more. Brazil even less. Please don’t project but just show the actual data.
    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/CO2Emissions/Emis_moreFigs/PieCharts.gif

    Comment by AntonyIndia — 24 Apr 2014 @ 3:11 AM

  130. Andy (#122),

    You’ve made one rather obvious mistake all on you own. The Sierra Club has brought about a virtual moratorium on new coal plants through its Beyond Coal campaign and new EPA New Source regulations will make that an inescapable moratorium until coal with partial CCS can be competitive with natural gas. Nuclear power plants will not be replaced with new coal plants.

    We can expect new regulations on mercury emissions to shut down quite a few existing coal plants by 2016. Exelon had been counting on that to raise the average wholesale price of electricity, but it turns out that this may not happen.

    You’ve made another mistake, which is to believe Exelon’s lies. “Investor-owned utility Exelon continued its attacks on wind energy in a recent speech at a conference organized by the Nuclear Energy Institute. In a trade press article about the speech, Exelon was quoted as saying that its nuclear power plants experience negative electricity market prices about 14% of the time.

    The first and biggest problem with that claim is that it’s not true. Over two years’ worth of data from the MISO and PJM utility system operators, as compiled by Ventyx Velocity Suite, show that Exelon’s nuclear plants have faced negative prices about 1% of the time over the last two years, with two plants experiencing negative prices about 2% of the time.

    Second, it is likely that at least some of those negative price instances were caused by the nuclear power plants themselves.” http://aweablog.org/blog/post/fact-check-exelons-faulty-math-and-logic-on-winds-consumer-benefits

    Negative pricing is not Exelon’s problem. The problem is that the huge windfall that nuclear power plants experience in deregulated markets when peaker gas plants set the market clearing price has been cut. Wind power hardly ever sets the marker clearing price, but it does reduce the need for those more expensive supply interventions. And that is where wind helps to cut the average wholesale price, by reducing fossil fuel use in the most inefficient fossil fuel plants.

    Here is a pretty clear description: “Over the past half-decade, the market clearing price has been declining. Fuel costs have been declining, driven by a dramatic decline in natural gas prices. At the same time, demand for electricity has been declining due to increasing efficiency of electricity consuming equipment and consumer durables. Moreover, the increase in renewable generation, which has the lowest (zero) cost of fuel and therefore always runs when it is available, has lowered the demand for fossil fired generation. This means that the market clears with more efficient (lower cost) plants, which lowers the market clearing price even farther. For consumers this is a very beneficial process; for producers not so much, since the prices they receive are declining.” http://will.illinois.edu/nfs/RenaissanceinReverse7.18.2013.pdf

    So, Exelon’s difficulty is trying to run nuclear power plants past their design lifetime, which makes nuclear power more expensive than the sweet spot where the plant is paid off but it isn’t yet crumbling, sort of like years six, seven and eight of car ownership. And, they are attempting that in a competitive environment where wholesale prices are falling.

    Exelon’s decision to try to run worn out plants rather than replace them means they are drawing even more heavily on the huge federal Price-Anderson Act subsidy for nuclear power since the plants face more and more frequent critical systems failures owing to decrepitude. Compared with that, the production tax credit wind gets is miniscule.

    In consideration of this, market methods to close nuclear power plants are especially excellent for cutting greenhouse gas emissions if they avoid a sudden ending of nuclear power owing to a Price-Anderson level incident such as recently shut down all nuclear power in Japan. That brought the most inefficient fossil fuel plants into maximum use. The catastrophic unreliability of nuclear power poses substantial climate risk and it is the market distortion of the Price-Anderson subsidy which perpetuates that risk. If we are lucky, markets will show that they can overcome even that large a distortion. Knock on wood!

    While renewable energy subsidies won’t be needed much longer, the negative learning curve for new nuclear power means that it will not be competitive without subsidies, so the 2005 Energy Act “jump start” loan guarantees would have to be continued indefinably.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 Apr 2014 @ 7:22 AM

  131. Edward (#128),

    Nuclear does not follow load, so it needs batteries just as much as RE, more so since hydro and biomass are dispatchable. Making use of that excellent blog of mine, we can see that the needed storage is on the way. (Seven days is a silly number if you think about it.) http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/08/roof-pitch.html So, with the storage available, we just need to choose which is the cheaper low carbon source. That turns out to be RE as calculated by Lovins in his book “Reinventing Fire.” It even looks like RE with overcapacity is cheaper than nuclear with storage. So, if your devotion to nuclear power has to do with numbers, you should be able to drop that now. The numbers go the other way. You’ve just made a math error.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 Apr 2014 @ 7:47 AM

  132. Edward (#127),

    Looks like this post needed editing and so appeared after @127. So, from #128 there is really only this to address.

    “You need a whole week’s worth of battery power in case of a cold cloudy calm winter. No fair using natural gas as a “backup.””

    I guess you should be embarrassed say such a thing on a climate site. If you are invoking a national battery, you’re asking for national uniform weather for a week. It’s never happened. Don’t forget also that biomass is not only dispatchable but as the IPCC points out “Low CO2‐emitting natural gas substitutes can be produced from surplus fluctuating renewable electricity generation, e.g., ‘power to methane’ (Sterner, 2009; Arvizu et al., 2011), from other renewable sources such as biomass and waste…” (WG III Chapter 7) so it is absolutely fair to have backup and might be a good idea.

    No, no, you are skewing the numbers and reality, so your attachment seems to be emotional. See if you can work out why. I’d be interested when you do.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 Apr 2014 @ 8:22 AM

  133. Diogenes: ” What’s going on in climate science?”

    Well, they’re doing climate science–that is, trying to understand Earth’s climate, including not just responses to greenhouse gasses, but aerosols, solar forcing, clouds, ocean-atmospheric coupling, the role of the cryosphere, sources of internal variability and on and on. All of this is useful research. All of it is needed if we are to understand the consequences of the climate change to which we are already committed.

    What you are calling for is not climate science. Rather it is climate/energy/environmental policy research. Let the climate scientists do climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2014 @ 9:45 AM

  134. #121
    Why do countries want to spin the summary? by Prof David Stern ANU

    In November and December next year, the governments of the world will meet in Paris at the 21st annual meeting of the members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Their goal is to achieve a binding, worldwide agreement on climate change. This will be the most important summit since the meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 and possibly since Kyoto in 1997, which spawned the Kyoto Protocol.

    I was an author on Chapter 5 of the report, which deals with historical trends in emissions. I was not at the governmental plenary meeting, so I can only speculate about why some things made it into the approved summary and others did not. But it is easy to see why some governments might find some graphs controversial.
    https://theconversation.com/censored-ipcc-summary-reveals-jockeying-for-key-un-climate-talks-25813

    Comment by Wally — 24 Apr 2014 @ 9:47 AM

  135. re 129, 125 & 121,

    “Many countries have good reasons for not wanting specific information about their own emissions to make it into the IPCC summary.”
    https://theconversation.com/censored-ipcc-summary-reveals-jockeying-for-key-un-climate-talks-25813

    Nor their future projected energy use or under the radar taxation/spending systems

    Comment by Wally — 24 Apr 2014 @ 10:09 AM

  136. A certain commenter here is a font of misinformation.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Apr 2014 @ 3:51 PM

  137. 131, 132 Chris Dudley: WHY would nuclear need storage? “nuclear with storage” is insane because we have tested reactors that do follow the load very well.
    Please read this Book: “Plentiful Energy, The Story of the Integral Fast Reactor” by Charles E. Till and Yoon Il Chang, 2011

    Chris Dudley has a monetary interest in RE as stated on his own blog. But he probably changed it. WHO is emotional and making errors?

    http://www.invw.org/article/biomass-fuel-worse-for-cl-1432
    “Burning coal actually produces fewer climate-altering emissions than burning wood.” Not the only place I heard that.

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
    National battery: Tom Murphy “Do the Math” did the “A Nation-Sized Battery.” Him and other people. Why?
    “We’re not a nation tolerant of power outages. …This may be able to manage the worst-case “perfect” storm of persistent clouds in the desert Southwest plus weak wind in the Plains. ”
    You get solar power in the desert southwest and wind on the plains, but not always. In the rest of the country, variability is worse. If you had read the links I gave you, you would know that solar has dropouts even in Arizona in the middle of sunny days with no clouds in sight. Worse, you want to transmit power over too great a distance. Without room temperature superconductors, the losses become too high over the whole US.

    My home town, Olean, New York, rarely has either a sunny or windy day. The clouds average 11000 feet thick. And it is down in a valley where the wind rarely reaches.

    disclaimer
    I have no interest, financial or otherwise, in any industry. I own no stock in any company. I am not an investor or a money lender. My only interest is in stopping Global Warming. My only income is from the US civil service retirement system. I am a retired civil servant. My annuity comes from federal tax money.

    I have no interest, financial or otherwise, in the electric utility industry, except that I buy electricity from the local utility.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Apr 2014 @ 12:56 AM

  138. Edward (#137),

    Look at your link. The whole premise was shot down as soon as it was posted. http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/#comment-316

    There is published work in this area, cited by the IPCC that demonstrates the that you are making a mistake.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 25 Apr 2014 @ 9:57 PM

  139. Edward (#137),

    This is what the IPCC says regarding the inflexibility if nuclear power “Some low‐carbon power technologies (such as nuclear) have relatively high up‐front and low operating costs, making them attractive for baseload operation rather than providing flexible generation to assist in system balancing. Depending on the pattern of electricity demand, a relatively high share of energy can be provided by these baseload technologies but at some point, further increases in their penetration will require part‐loaded operation,11 load following, time shifting of demand (via load management or demand response), and/or deployment of storage where it is costeffective (Knapp, 1969; Johnson and Keith, 2004; Chalmers et al., 2009; Pouret et al., 2009). Part‐load operation of nuclear plants is possible as in France, though in other regions it may be restricted by institutional barriers (Perez‐Arriaga and Batlle, 2012). Load following by nuclear power plants is more challenging and must be considered at the design stage (NEA, 2011a, 2012; Greenblatt et al., 2012).” WG III Ch. 7.

    Since these plants are becoming barely profitable or unprofitable when they run full time, it hardly seems to make sense to make them less profitable by taking them off line all the time.

    You should investigate how biomass may serve as a feedstock for methane production using wind generation as as the hydrogen source as the IPCC mentioned. You’ll see that fits well with existing natural gas infrastructure. There is a great deal that you can learn about RE that will make you realize that it is a better way to go.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Apr 2014 @ 12:33 AM

  140. In 137, I should have added: If nuclear could not load follow, we wouldn’t use batteries anyway. We would make peak power all the time and find something to do with the extra energy. Why? Batteries are too expensive. We would desalinate water, or scavenge CO2 out of the air, or pump water into the Ogallala Aquifer or make ammonia out of air and water or something. I don’t know what. It would depend on the prices of equipment and product, etcetera.

    An engineer looking at batteries connected to power lines has to be skeptical. We wouldn’t normally think of making such a connection at all without some special case. Fairbanks, Alaska did it because Fairbanks is a long ways from its generating plant and they expect the temperature to hit 60 below in January.

    We did the calculation for battery backup for renewable energy because there is only one other way to make RE the only energy source and we don’t have room temperature superconductors.

    The word “practical” gets rather bent out of shape by customer wishes and phobias.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Apr 2014 @ 1:08 AM

  141. 130 Chris Dudley: The Price-Anderson Act has not ever given a subsidy to the nuclear industry. In fact, the nuclear industry has paid into Price-Anderson. See the course at https://class.coursera.org/nuclearscience-002

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Apr 2014 @ 1:10 AM

  142. 130 Chris Dudley: Since nuclear power plants do not make CO2, closing them could only increase CO2 production, which is what happened when Japan closed its nuclear power plants. Nuclear power is the most reliable source of electricity there is.

    I have no emotional connection to any source of electricity.

    138 Chris Dudley: sodium-sulfur batteries: Go ahead and invest in them. YOUR money.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Apr 2014 @ 1:36 AM

  143. Is the IPCC Government Approval Process Broken?
    Posted on April 25, 2014 by Robert Stavins

    Over the past 5 years, I have dedicated an immense amount of time and effort to serving as the Co-Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of Chapter 13, “International Cooperation: Agreements and Instruments,” of Working Group III (Mitigation) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    http://www.robertstavinsblog.org/2014/04/25/is-the-ipcc-government-approval-process-broken-2/

    Comment by wally — 26 Apr 2014 @ 4:00 AM

  144. I think it is somewhat of a optimistic chant here that 1.5C can be achieved (even if we give up emissions today 100% we have 1.2C to contend with) and as this is not going to happen and as global emissions rose by 2.0% in 2013 so even when our great alternative energy infrastructure gets off the ground and we all start driving our electric cars or 100 mpg hybrids it will take decades to come off the curve correctly. The IEA only reported yesterday that oil, coal and gas demand will increase by 45% by 2030 and hence all of the assumptions in these models about economic demands etc must be factually optimistic or indeed already out of date. I have watched Kevin Anderson’s videos and read his papers of late and this is the very thing he stating regarding these models, they use optimistic and out of date data and assume that China and indeed the rest of the world will peak in 2016 – which is very unlikely for china, let alone India an Africa, 2030 to 2060 is indeed more than likely.

    Therefore 0.06% GDP growth is all that is needed to be sacrificed in order to mitigate ACC cant be scientifically right – sure it can be informed by science but its an economic and political ideal and hence not correct but an optimistic smudge on the true reality.

    As Kevin Anderson states in his video “from Rhetoric to Reality” silence from the scientists is consent to their paymasters.

    Comment by Pete Best — 26 Apr 2014 @ 6:21 AM

  145. Ray Ladbury #133,

    “What you are calling for is not climate science. Rather it is climate/energy/environmental policy research. Let the climate scientists do climate science.”

    Don’t agree. My specific statement in #109 was:

    “We need a site that offers a platform to compare, on a standardized basis, potential solutions. There needs to be a combination of desired temperature and concentration targets, and the actions required to achieve those targets. I don’t see that on any site. It is such an obvious gap, I find it hard to believe it is an omission or an oversight. In no other technical discipline would such an obvious gap be allowed to exist. What’s going on in climate science?”

    At the core of any potential solution is requirements and targets. The targets towards which our climate change amelioration policies must be aimed must come from the latest and most credible findings climate science has to offer. My most consistent complaint about RC is that policies and solutions are offered in the absence of targets. I am suggesting climate science in the context of the larger climate policy.

    RC has a section called Unforced Variations where proposals for climate change actions are made, but typically they have no relation to what climate science requires. That’s why I call them ‘unpaid advertising’. Given that our moderators are world-class climate scientists, why don’t we require that any proposals must integrate the targets from climate science with the actions required to achieve these targets? If the climate science-based targets are incorrect, the moderators would be the best around to comment on the deficiencies.

    If these proposals were posted on a pure technology site, then the moderator expertise might be science-light and technology-heavy. Obviously, a site that had both science-heavy and technology-heavy moderators would be most balanced; where does that exist? You might argue: why worry about the moderators; just let the commenters address the science. Look no further than the RC comments with their pre-determined agendas for your answer.

    I have never worked in a technical area where proposals were made in the absence of requirements and targets as I have seen in climate change amelioration. I don’t know how any visitors to climate change blogs can take them seriously with the preponderance of unpaid advertising that is posted.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 26 Apr 2014 @ 7:42 AM

  146. Pete Best #144,

    You are on the right track, but the situation is even more grim than you outline. Given the recent actions by Putin in establishing offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, with many more regional nations soon to follow, and strong expansion of fossil resources in Australia, Canada, USA, et al, it is clear we are on a strong BAU path for the forseeable future. The EIA projections of ~50% annual increase in emissions by the 2040s may in fact be conservative!

    When we assemble all the pieces, the BAU in fossil fuel use, the recent Australian and Gallup Polls showing climate change concern DECREASING since 2007, the recent studies showing that the 2 C target is extremely risky for preventing the ultimate catastrophe, the conclusion is rather clear. There may be a chance theoretically to avoid the worst of climate change, but in practice, there is not the remotest possibility. And, you know what? I think a lot of people understand this. I now interpret Anderson’s papers, Hansen’s papers, Spratt’s monographs, et al, as a death sentence for our civilization. They are offering plans showing required targets, and the actions in those plans are complete orthogonal to what the real world will do. Those papers are the coded last rites for our civilization!

    The energy suppliers realize this as well, and their present focus is to capture the supply market in the time we have remaining. We are seeing a classic competition between high carbon sources and low carbon sources for the high and growing energy demand market. This competition plays out on the climate blogs as well. The high carbon sources effectively advertise their wares through comments on sites like WUWT. Since they are not able to show benefits for their product in ameliorating climate change, the only argument they can make is that their product does not cause climate change; it mainly results from natural variability. The low carbon sources effectively advertise their wares through comments on sites like RC and CP. Since they cannot show that their products will ameliorate climate change adequately without hard demand reduction and the sacrifice it entails, their sales approach is to push the positive image of low carbon sources and bypass any mention of targets implementation of these low carbon sources will achieve.

    The IPCC certainly understands where we are headed, but, in the words of the poster Knopf, avoids the central issue by stating “many of these issues cannot be answered solely by science, such as the question of a temperature level that avoids dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. I view their report from the same perspective as the papers by Anderson and Hansen mentioned above. Miracles can happen, and that’s what it will take at this point to avoid the impending climate Apocalypse.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 26 Apr 2014 @ 7:49 AM

  147. RC is a professional climate science site: “climate science from climate scientists.” This is their area of expertise and their niche. Comment sections however are (within limits) a come-one-come-all free-for-all; just as you’d expect to see on an open but moderated site designed to communicate with the public. As far as I know this is a unique set-up, and one to be valued.

    The role of climate science with respect to society is evolving. There are histortical reasons for how this is happening the way it is and why it’s an uphill effort (which have been discussed here periodically).

    If you see a need, have all the answers, and just can’t hold you water, go ahead and fill it.

    Holy cow.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 26 Apr 2014 @ 9:57 AM

  148. Ken Lassman:

    Financing rapid change is always a major component for shifting away from carbon emissions and yet I have seen only passing reference to a carbon tax with no real in depth evaluation of this as an option, despite numerous economists concluding that this would be the most efficient and rapid technique for financing a reduction a reduction in emissions. Am I missing something, or can the author/commentators provide any insight on this apparent oversight?

    The contributors to RC are climate scientists for the most part, not policy analysts. Other sites promote a carbon tax as a policy instrument. Any tax proposal is of course politically fraught, but IMO there are signs that the idea is gaining acceptance in the U.S.

    And don’t miss Elizabeth Kolbert’s lead comment in last week’s New Yorker. Kolbert’s grasp of the climate issue is unusual for a journalist in the MSM.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 26 Apr 2014 @ 10:08 AM

  149. DIOGENES: The culture of science requires the avoidance of any hint of charlatinism and the avoidance of any hint of leadership. Leader and charlatan mean about the same thing: liar.

    Scientists are well schooled in the mathematics of probability and statics [prob&stat]. No experimental result is ever perfect. There is always statistical variation. Then along came Quantum Mechanics, which says that the whole Universe is based on probability. Very improbable things Could happen. It is just that we haven’t watched for all of eternity yet. I think you need to take a physics department laboratory course in probability and statics. Otherwise, you won’t get it.

    That having been said, I agree with you. We NEED a charlatan/leader who can outspend the Koch brothers and Exxon-Mobil.

    The other side: Brigitte Knopf and the climate scientists need to know that Ethics and Morals are now a branch of Science. Start with Lumsden & Wilson “Genes, Mind & Culture.” This book started the whole science of sociobiology. Another book to get is “The Genetics of Altruism” by Scott A. Boorman & Paul R. Levitt.

    “Sociobiology” gets confused with other things that it is not. It is not eugenics. There are several similar labels that have been re-used because we ran out of words. Just remember it started with Edward O. Wilson and “Genes, Mind & Culture.” There are hundreds of books on Sociobiology in the Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/ Go to the electronic card catalog and look up “Sociobiology.” http://catalog.loc.gov/
    Find hundreds of books.

    See theBrights project on morality. http://the-brights.net
    “The Science of Good & Evil” by Michael Shermer

    Reference: The entire new science called Sociobiology. Ethics and morality are no longer in the jurisdictions of religion and philosophy. Ethical Engineering will soon be a mathematical branch of engineering with ethical equations.

    APPLICATION TO HUMANITY’S GREATEST PROBLEM: GLOBAL WARMING: EXTINCTION of the human race would be the greatest sin, and the fall of civilization the next greatest sin.

    Reality: There is going to be a population crash. 7 Billion people is billions over the sustainable number. And we are way over the sustainable greenhouse gas limit.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Apr 2014 @ 11:30 AM

  150. It has been posited that the IPCC report is based upon the hypothesis that we are capable of growing our world economy. We have not been able to grow our economies more or less since 2008. On what basis does everyone here think we will be able to in the future?

    According to Gail Tverberg, there are a number of reasons why the low IPCC estimate will be our future. She takes a look at the numbers in Annex II to the report, and considers the numbers in terms of six interrelated possible scenarios related to oil limits.

    Her conclusion – “The RCP2.6 Scenario assumes that anthropogenic carbon emissions will still be at 84% of 2010 levels in 2030. In comparison, my expectation (Figure 3, below) is that fossil fuel use (and thus anthropogenic carbon emissions) will be at a little less than 40% of 2010 levels in 2030.”

    She concludes that: “Now we are reaching limits in many ways, but we can’t–or dare not–model how all of these limits are hitting. We can, in theory, add more complexity to fix our problems–electric cars, renewable energy, higher city density, better education of women. These things would require more energy rate density. Ultimately, they seem to depend on the availability of more inexpensive energy–something that is increasingly unavailable.” (http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/04/11/oil-limits-and-climate-change-how-they-fit-together/)

    Why isn’t the factor of resource limits being considered on this web site in terms of climate modeling?

    Comment by kleymo — 26 Apr 2014 @ 12:30 PM

  151. Edward (#142),

    Once nuclear power becomes uncompetitive with low cost renewable energy, as is happening now (Exelon (wind), South Texas Project (solar), Entergy (hydro)), it accrues an opportunity cost that reduces the rate of transition to low carbon generation if it is not shut down. So, no, in a market situation, the (now) relatively expensive nuclear power increases cumulative emissions since money is diverted from getting larger lower cost capacity in the renewables.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Apr 2014 @ 2:49 PM

  152. Edward (#141),

    Price-Anderson is a huge subsidy. http://capedownwinders.org/nuclear-liability-the-market-based-post-fukushima-case-for-ending-price-anderson/

    It also induces moral delinquency in nuclear supporters. You should join me in calling for its repeal.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Apr 2014 @ 3:11 PM

  153. Edward (#140),

    You’ve really misunderstood the situation with nuclear power. The levelized cost of new nuclear power is vastly greater than for renewables. Going with overcapacity is much much cheaper with renewables. And, you have completely forgotten that nuclear power uses fuel. The IPCC point out that there is only enough fuel available for a century or so of nuclear power at the present rate of use. You want to expand that by a factor of 10 to cover peak use and run all the time. That gives you about thirteen years of power (and about 6 major accidents as well during that time). Over capacity is an option for renwables since they don’t use fuel, but not for nuclear power. Your plan is completely unworkable.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Apr 2014 @ 3:30 PM

  154. kleymo,

    Electrification of transportation is a simplification, not an increase in complexity. Similarly, education of woman reduces a social barrier. The first reduces energy demand, the second may increase household income, but in some places it has raised environmental awareness and led to reforestation. Urbanization in India and China seems to increase energy use, but switching to renewables can probably negate that. And, that is also the path to lower cost energy. IPCC WG III section 7.4 covers covers resource availability.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Apr 2014 @ 7:17 PM

  155. Time for a reminder of the statistics from Europe:
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Apr 2014 @ 8:34 PM

  156. Another problem for mitigation, beyond the lies spread by the faltering nuclear industry, is the money provided by subsidies for fossil fuel to pursue campaigns against clean energy in state legislatures. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/opinion/sunday/the-koch-attack-on-solar-energy.html

    Ending fossil fuel subsidies should be a priority to stop this type of misappropriation.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 Apr 2014 @ 8:07 AM

  157. 151, 152, 153, 154, 156 Chris Dudley: We already know that you have a financial stake in renewables. WHO has an emotional connection to renewable energy?

    1. See 155 by David B. Benson. To make renewables as safe as nuclear, renewables have to be kept far away from people. Then renewables would be an ecological disaster.

    2. Comments 151, 152, 153, 154, 156 by Chris Dudley are nonsense.

    3. There is a billion years’ worth of uranium dissolved in the oceans according to James Hansen. Recycling will extend land based nuclear fuel for 30000 years.

    4. Etcetera.

    5. Sodium-sulfur battery: You have many years of research, design and development ahead before it works. Then you have to create an industry to build it. By that time, civilization will have crashed or the climate will have crossed tipping points.

    6. Factory built nuclear production lines are already certified. Production can be ramped up quickly enough to save us.

    7. Chris Dudley forgets that we are scientists and engineers, impressed with math and numbers, not rhetoric. Nor do we have a financial stake in anything.

    8. If wind power were cheaper and better than the alternatives, why didn’t the utilities stay with wind power a century ago? The utility companies use wind and solar only when forced to do so by law, and wind and solar have caused the price of electricity to double already in California. The price of electricity is even higher in Denmark and Germany.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/merkel-s-switch-to-renewables-rising-energy-prices-endanger-german-industry-a-816669-2.html

    Danes pay 20.6 Euro cents/kWh
    Germans pay 16.7 Euro cents/kwh
    Californians pay 15 US cents/kwh
    I pay 7.5 US cents/kwh
    BECAUSE I do not have to pay for renewable energy.

    Enough of this. Gish gallop all you want, Chris Dudley. Chris Dudley is on ignore.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Apr 2014 @ 10:38 PM

  158. PS: 1 Euro equals 1.38 US Dollar

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Apr 2014 @ 10:41 PM

  159. #157–Bit of a Gish gallop yourself, there, Ed. I won’t try to respond to every point. But I’ll observe that you do something that doesn’t behoove ‘scientists and engineers,’ which is to confuse the ‘cost of renewable energy’ with the cost of incentives employed to induce folks to build a whole lot of renewable capacity in a hurry.

    Yes, the Danes and Germans pay more for electricity. But that isn’t because wind and solar are inherently expensive. It’s because that’s how they’ve chosen to structure their tax regime–yes, in part to fund the adoption of renewables. Note, however, that both countries have high standards of living and vibrant economies. What’s lost on the swings can be regained on the roundabouts. Note further that both nations are pressing ahead with plans to increase renewable capacities yet further.

    In fact, Danish energy policy calls for 100% renewables by 2050. If renewables were as problematic as you think, shouldn’t we be seeing some ‘buyer’s remorse’ in Denmark by now?

    In the global picture, IRENA reports that:

    Considering only net fossil fuel investment in 2012, renewable power was in the lead for the third consecutive year, with its USD 227 billion taking a wide lead over fossil fuels’ estimated USD 147.7. If investment in hydropower projects >50 MW is included, then global investment in renewable power capacity was one-and-a-half to two times the net investment in fossil fuels in 2012.

    I’d respectfully submit that those sorts of investment flows aren’t the result of ‘emotional decision-making.’ And they illustrate the reality that, on the ground today, what is displacing fossil capacity is renewables.

    I have a question for you, though. You write that “Factory built nuclear production lines are already certified. Production can be ramped up quickly enough to save us.”

    I have grave doubts that the second sentence is correct, and I have yet to see anything more than the merest hand-waving supporting similar statements I’ve read in the past. I’d like to think that there is something to this argument, though, because the more things that potentially could save our collective butt, the better. So, can you expand on your first statement? Where are these plants, what do they build, and do you have some quantitative assessment of how much cost/time/whatever they can save in construction?

    To give a little background on my skepticism, as a resident of Georgia and property owner in South Carolina, I watch the nuclear scene with some interest, including the construction of the two new Vogtle reactors near Waynesboro, Georgia. The latest story on that–the top Google hit this morning–is this:

    http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2014-04-26/plant-vogtle-owners-avoid-loan-subsidy-fee

    (You might want to consider that one when next tempted to rail about subsidies for renewables.)

    But to return to the main sub-point, the use of off-site ‘production line’ techniques hasn’t been a success story for the Vogtle expansion:

    Delays in fabricating and shipping the CA20 submodules increased project costs, eventually causing Georgia Power to issue a stop-work order to contractor Chicago Bridge & Iron. In the past year, CB&I delivered all remaining submodules to the Vogtle site for inspection and repair work allowing for “enhanced supervision and significantly accelerated the release process for assembly,” the report said.

    Is that the sort of thing you are referring to, or is there more on this that I should know about?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Apr 2014 @ 10:05 AM

  160. #157 (and many others)

    And so we once again descend into the nuclear noise.

    Personally, I agree with parts of what both the pro- and anti- people have to say.

    The part that drives me up the wall is when the pro-nuke crowd says that gen IV nukes could do all the things we want if we put on a WW-II style push to get on them.

    Sure, they could. But a WW-II style push could make a lot of technologies work. Wind, geothermal, solar, and efficiency, for example. If one tends toward exotica, a WW-II push toward space solar could probably be made to work.

    The pro-nuke lobby says that renewables *can’t* do the job because they’re not cutting emissions today deliberately ignores that we’re not applying the level of effort required for nuclear technology to renewables. The argument is intellectually dishonest, as would be arguing that nuclear isn’t capable of getting us out of this mess because emissions continue to rise despite the continued deployment of a mature technology.

    Comment by David Miller — 28 Apr 2014 @ 12:11 PM

  161. Edward (#157),

    You are becoming quite unbalanced. You do realize that I never once mentioned those batteries right? You are arguing against your own strawman. I see absolutely no evidence that you are a scientist or engineer. You certainly don’t read carefully enough or show any sense of numbers. And, you don’t write truthfully either. Claiming that SMRs are on the way is a very false statement. http://www.forbes.com/sites/pikeresearch/2014/04/28/mpower-pullback-stalls-small-nuclear/

    It’s not about rhetoric Edward, it is about your emotional state regarding nuclear power. Your seem to be driven to delusion.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 Apr 2014 @ 1:51 PM

  162. @ Chris Dudley et al:

    “electrification is a simplification.” Okay, a real world example – my 9 unit condo assoc. has an 8 year old boiler/hot water heater – $50,000 in “previous investment.” It would take around $100,000 for us to convert to solar/wind/solar hot water, not including remaking the back stairs to go to the roof, and installing a new overhanging roof (I don’t care about the govt. subsidy, because someone pays it). Does anyone on this site think your typical person is going to go electric with these numbers?

    How would the system be installed? Well, a big truck burning diesel delivers the material. The material mined to make the solar panels, etc. comes from all over the world, using oil derived fuel. Electricity is used to illuminate rooms here and there from nuclear power, I suppose. (Oh wait, the parts and general maintenance of the nuclear power plants comes from fossil fuel derived sources; well, I am sure that some of the electricity comes from wind – oh wait, the maintenance of the wind power complexes requires parts, etc. derived using oil derived fuel; come to think of it, lets absolutely ignore what I just wrote:)

    What would it take to make this process all electric? The Germans have tested a delivery truck that runs on electricity like a trolleybus, and can then run on diesel for short periods. The amount of money needed to put such a plan in motion has not been found. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/siemens-misguided-idea-about-putting-power-lines-on-german-roads-a-842834.html

    Okay, I get my neighbors to throw out a heating system that is good for another 20 years minimum, spend over $50,000 on new plumbing, a new overhang for the roof, redone electricity that is 10-20% of what they had before, and to boot we install LED lighting everywhere. The upfront investment will only pay for itself over a period of 10-20 years. How long are my neighbors going to be living here? Why do they want to pay for someone else to save money when they are gone?

    So, has anyone here run the numbers? How long would it take to transform a society from one form of energy to another? Ugo Bardi et al think around 40 years. Is it possible given the resource numbers we have? No, not for 7 billion people, and it is not realistic to lower that number and still expect to have a functioning economy that could transition.

    I think it worth a climate scientist’s while to take resource depletion into consideration when addressing climate issues.

    Comment by kleymo — 28 Apr 2014 @ 3:13 PM

  163. On oil company subsidies:

    I have noticed an eagerness among some to view the oil companies as THE PROBLEM, and not part of the problem. What does the scientific method have to say about this situation –

    Scientific Method for Kids (website):

    Question – Can demand driven forecasting accurately project future resource usage?

    Background Research – Demand driven forecasting is being used to project resource usage (and thus climate projections). Demand driven forecasting has not accurately reflected resource production since the mid-2000’s. Supply driven forecasting does accurately reflect resource usage. http://energypolicy.columbia.edu/events-calendar/global-oil-market-forecasting-main-approaches-key-drivers

    Hypothesis – If demand driven forecasting is used in a resource constrained environment, then projections based on this type of forecasting will be erroneous.

    Experiment – We see what happens to oil companies that use demand driven forecasting if the cost of production continues to increase.

    Data – Once again, we may turn to Gail Tverberg, who informs us that: “lack of sufficient investment is poised to bring the system down. That is basically the expected limit under Limits to Growth.” http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/02/25/beginning-of-the-end-oil-companies-cut-back-on-spending/

    Observations – a) I spent $4.12 at the pump yesterday. Last year I spent more than the year before, and this has been constant for years. b) The number of people unemployed is rising, whatever the government says, and has been doing so for years. c) Debt continues to rise, but investment does not rise at all.

    Conclusions – a) Oil production will become increasingly less economical, requiring more and more resource/financial allocation for an energy return. This is unsustainable. Therefore, resource usage will go down. b) As resource usage goes down, the amount of pollution will be reduced commiseratively. How fast depends upon the ability of the system to compensate for the increasing cost of resources, which is unknown. A big fat guess would be 2-4% lower every year.

    So, is the above crazy? It is based on serious study of the problem of resource production.

    Communication (the last item on the “scientific method for kids” list) – Have another look at where you are getting your numbers from to draw climate numbers from. I think you may be cheered (assuming you don’t have children, of course).

    Comment by kleymo — 28 Apr 2014 @ 4:01 PM

  164. Edward Greisch #157,

    The Der Spiegel article you referenced was very interesting. Some takeaways:

    “Last spring, Chancellor Angela Merkel set Germany on course to eliminate nuclear power in favor of renewable energy sources. Now, though, several industries are suffering as electricity prices rapidly rise. Many companies are having to close factories or move abroad.”

    “many manufacturers of wind turbines and solar panels complain that business is bad and are cutting jobs. Some solar companies have already gone out of business. The environmental sector faces a number of problems, especially — and ironically — those stemming from high energy prices.”

    “According to a recent survey by the DIHK, almost one in five industrial companies plans to shift capacities abroad — or has already done so. The study also finds that almost 60 percent fear power outages or voltage fluctuations in the power grid, BECAUSE WIND AND SOLAR POWER ARE STILL TOO UNRELIABLE.”

    “Until now, the reliability of the German electricity supply was seen as a significant advantage for doing business in the country. But the loss of several nuclear power plants, coupled with the UNPREDICTABILITY OF ELECTRICITY FROM WIND AND SOLAR SOURCES, has changed the situation.”

    Not quite the same picture we got from Fish on his idyllic life under renewables!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 29 Apr 2014 @ 8:40 AM

  165. The Supreme Court has upheld EPA rules limiting cross border pollution. This is likely to cut carbon dioxide emissions owing to the cost of limiting the covered pollutants which come mainly from coal burning. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/us/politics/supreme-court-backs-epa-coal-pollution-rules.html

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 29 Apr 2014 @ 4:50 PM

  166. Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 29 Apr 2014 @ 8:40 AM, ~#164

    You say- “Not quite the same picture we got from Fish on his idyllic life under renewables!”

    This is quite uncalled for. You and Killian like to make fun, but unlike you my electric appliances, lighting, water supply, domestic hot water, house heating and cooling all do not require any fossil fuel. This is not easy. It requires planning, work, and paying attention, but it saves a lot of money and fossil carbon in the long run. Based upon what you have said about this issue, you don’t have a clue.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 29 Apr 2014 @ 8:17 PM

  167. Those still interested in debating the merits of various electricity generation sources are encouraged to use
    NREL’s Simple Levelized Cost of Energy Calculator
    http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html
    as starter of generation costs, add in suitable sums for transmission where applicable, while attempting to find mixtures of generation sources to meet the demand for a reference grid based on watching
    BPA Balancing Authority Load and Total Wind, Hydro, and Thermal Generation, Near-Real-Time
    http://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/wind/baltwg.aspx

    The reference load is 20 GW from 6 am to 11 pm, flat for simplicity, and but 70% of that overnight. [I will point out that I have often offered this overly simplified technical challenge and have yet to see an amateur attempt posted online other than my own, over on Brave New Climate.] Of course we want a mixture of generation which is as carbon dioxide free as possible and still meets FERC reliability guidelines of about 8 hours of outages from all causes per annum.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Apr 2014 @ 8:56 PM

  168. Steve Fish #166,

    “You and Killian like to make fun”

    The main point of the posting was to elucidate the Der Speigel concerns over what renewables are doing to the reliability and costs of German power, and the subsequent fallout on the economy.

    [edit – just stop]

    Comment by DIOGENES — 30 Apr 2014 @ 4:41 AM

  169. kleymo (#162),

    You are babbling a bit there by starting off by misquoting me. Electrification of transportation is a simplification. I pointed that out because TOD mavens make so so many errors of fact. Building stock rolls over more slowly than transportation stock, so some of your misunderstanding stems from your misquoting.

    Now, you did not say what fuel your boiler used, but pretty clearly, much less fuel is involved in delivering and installing solar than in running the boiler. That is a typical TOD error to make.

    In my #78, I link to a paper which calls TOD slow energy transition hero Smil a pompous presumptuous prognosticator out of touch with the facts (paraphrased). You may want to read it since the numbers have been run and they are encouraging. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/mitigation-of-climate-change-part-3-of-the-new-ipcc-report/comment-page-2/#comment-506734

    TOD starts out with the premiss that the sky is falling and then writes ominous articles on every single snowflake that comes down that they think must support their premise. Huge grains of salt are needed even when useful concepts are discussed there. Don’t get baffled into babbling.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 Apr 2014 @ 9:06 AM

  170. This looks really weird to me. Check out this latest satellite image from this weeks storm:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/04/30/freak-s-shaped-storm-unleashes-biblical-rain-in-pensacola-mobile/

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 1 May 2014 @ 10:40 PM

  171. Kevin,

    Here is an interesting EIA wrinkle. They are using economic models based on existing regulations. So, from and economic point of view, they get:

    “Carbon emissions would be 4 percent higher with increased nuclear shutdowns in 2040 when compared with the normal plant retirement cycle. That’s largely because the nuclear capacity — which has no emissions — would be replaced with a 13 percent growth in natural gas power and a 5 percent increase in renewable energy.

    Natural gas would see a 19 percent increase by 2040 if coal power plants were shut down early, while renewables would grow 10 percent, EIA said. Emissions would drop 20 percent, though, because natural gas emits less than coal.

    Emissions fall only 14 percent in EIA’s projection if both coal and nuclear plants were put on an accelerated retirement cycle.” http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/204526-coal-and-nuclear-power-plant-retirements-to-impact-carbon-emissions

    However, they have not really let the invisible had do its work. “Those projected [nuclear] retirements are represented by derating of existing capacity for plants in vulnerable regions, not by retiring specific plants.” http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/04/28/utilities-nuclear-eia-idINL2N0NK23D20140428

    So, they have not taken into account the effect of closing the least competitive plants. That puts wind in a position to further moderate use of lower efficiency gas generation since the average cost of producing electricity will have fallen more than by just the simplified derating scheme the EIA used. More likely, shutting the least competitive plants cuts emissions rather than increasing them. One might end up with more gas generation, but less fuel use and lower emissions. As has been observed already: http://will.illinois.edu/nfs/RenaissanceinReverse7.18.2013.pdf

    They seem also to be a little behind the times on how new generation splits between gas and renewables. They may be using a running average or their customary pessimistic cost assumptions. And, we know that they count rooftop solar as demand reduction rather than new generation so they may have that curve off as well. Time of day demand reduction from rooftop solar has had a dramatic effect on natural gas use efficiency in California.

    So, what the EIA does u=is useful, but some important fine grain aspects could mean they got the sign wrong here.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 2 May 2014 @ 8:31 AM

  172. #171–Thanks, Chris. Yes, the EIA is always behind both cost and deployment curves.

    The U. Illinois paper is quite interesting, in a grim sort of way–“grim” from a pro-nuclear POV, I mean.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 May 2014 @ 1:56 PM

  173. David Miller (#160),

    I don’t have any connection whatsoever to the nuclear industry, so please don’t accuse me of being part of the “pro-nuke lobby”. Like many of the folks at BNC and elsewhere who support nuclear energy for environmental reasons, I think we need to have a fair discussion about realistic solutions to the energy problem. Which means, like IPCC WG3 said, we’re looking at a mix of renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels with CCS, if we want to do something meaningful about mitigation. Most major and developing governments around the world acknowledge the reality that nuclear should be part of the mix, including the US, UK, China, Russia, India, and Japan.

    Why can’t 100% non-nuclear renewables do the job? It’s the scale of the problem. A lot of our energy comes from fossil fuels. Global energy demand is rising and will continue to do so. We shouldn’t even be considering phasing out a primary source of low-carbon energy.

    Massive rollout? Why not? A non-exotic plan would be to start building Gen III/III+ reactors like the AP1000 right now. Basically advanced versions of the pressurized water reactors common today. This is what is happening, slowly in most places, and much more rapidly in China. What about the waste? The “spent” fuel can be stored until a closed fuel cycle using fast reactors can be developed (Gen IV technology isn’t that far off, the GE-Hitachi PRISM reactor for example could be utilized pretty rapidly). There is easily tens of thousands of years worth of low-carbon energy in the fissionable and fertile materials that have already been mined. Even without the imperative to do something _actually effective_ at reducing CO2 emissions, a closed nuclear fuel cycle makes sense for other reasons.

    Comment by seamus — 2 May 2014 @ 2:00 PM

  174. Kevin McKinney, (#159)

    I don’t think the article you linked about the costs of the new Vogtle reactors says what you want it to say. What major infrastructure project doesn’t have occasional issues with suppliers? According to the article, the problem you mentioned hasn’t affected the overall cost or schedule.

    The AP1000 reactor has a standardized, modular design. Of course that helps keep costs down. In fact, things that have been learned in the process of building the first ones in China are helping to build the ones in the US.

    China’s reactor construction offers insights

    Comment by seamus — 2 May 2014 @ 2:44 PM

  175. UCSC Climate Science & Policy Conference – January event – videos now posted. Keynotes by Dr Susan Solomon and Dr. Michael Mann

    The videos for the UC Santa Cruz Climate Conference are now up on the Social Sciences’ website http://socialsciences.ucsc.edu/news-events/events/climate%20conference.html.

    Comment by richard pauli — 9 May 2014 @ 6:50 PM

  176. http://www.nature.com/news/clean-break-1.15292

    Global health: Deadly dinners
    Polluting biomass stoves, used by one-third of the global population, take a terrible toll. But efforts to clean them up are failing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2014 @ 11:41 AM

  177. Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2014 @ 11:41 AM0

    Hi Hank. Cooking in the third world is a big problem. There doesn’t seem to be a simple way to bypass all the interim stages of development in the same way that cell phones have bypassed the massive switching stations and copper wire on poles that land lines went through.

    The problem is that the most efficient way to burn biomass is full tilt boogey wide open. This produces the minimum of carbon smoke and wasted burnable byproducts (e.g. wood gas components). This requires a chimney to provide a strong flow through a port that directs air directly onto the fire. This, also, means that damping the fire down to extend the burn or to control temperature produces smoke, pollution, and creosote in the chimney which is wasted energy. Biomass works best for wood gasification or open burn stoves, like masonry heaters, for heating homes and hot water, but not for cooking.

    Our Not So Simple Living Fair has a solar oven demonstration every year. They are simple to make but only work well if your cuisine consists of casseroles and chunks of meat, and don’t work well on cloudy days. Check out Rocket Stoves and the various version of biochar cooking, but I think they have big problems for the third world. A slight advancement in solar panel efficiency and batteries, along with a specially made microwave oven is what is needed.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 30 May 2014 @ 9:23 PM

  178. #174–Missed your comment at the time, Sean–sorry. But I’m bemused. What part of “Delays in fabricating and shipping the CA20 submodules increased project costs” am I misunderstanding?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 31 May 2014 @ 2:28 PM

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