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Unforced variations: Mar 2014

Filed under: — group @ 3 March 2014

This month’s open thread.


679 Responses to “Unforced variations: Mar 2014”

  1. 1
    DIOGENES says:

    Pete Best, Unfor Var, 2/14, #435,

    “I would questions one of your assumptions. The notion of some collective humanity deciding that we can all wean ourselves off of FFs with or without some hardship to ourselves. I doubt human nature in various states of ignorance regarding the implications of ACC can make the world take the action you state we should.”

    Pete, this is not what I want. This is what the numbers tell us we have to do to avoid the Apocalypse. We can talk about implementing renewables and nuclear and improved energy efficiency technologies from here until Sunday, but when you put the numbers in, they won’t do the job alone. There’s no alternative to strict demand reduction, and you won’t see one alternative presented on these pages consistent with what the numbers tell us we need!

  2. 2
    wili says:

    http://www.ecoearth.info/blog/2013/10/essay_ecology_is_the_meaning_o.asp#more

    “Industrial growth at the expense of ecosystems and climate must end as soon as possible. For human and all life’s survival and well-being, intact ecosystems must remain the context for human endeavors…

    Growth in industry, population, consumption, and inequity cannot be maintained. Together we must reach a steady state economy whereby natural capital is replenished, not diminished…

    For capitalism to have any future and avoid social, ecological, and economic collapse on a dead planet, it must learn to price external costs and environmental risk now, while rejecting its obsession with growth as the ultimate measure of well-being. Otherwise industrial capitalism will have to be replaced soon just so most may survive, let alone thrive.

    Only total societal reorganization away from destroying ecosystems and burning fossil fuels can save Earth and humanity. Either humanity finds a way together to implement difficult ecological policies to end fossil fuels, protect ecosystems, and achieve a steady-state economy – or it is the end. No measures except indiscriminate terrorism targeting innocents can be off the table in efforts to together protect ecology.”

    Ecologist Dr. Glen Barry
    From “Ecology is the Meaning of Life”

  3. 3
    pete best says:

    Re #1 – we wont avoid 2C but we can avoid 3-4C. I did understood you. Any cuts to our emissions are positive. 2 ppmv to 1 ppmv is a good start. The USA average car does 22 MPG so its easy to go to 40 + MPG. In the EU its 33 MPG so its easy to goto 60 MPG here as we like diesels and hybrids. We could all change our behaviour of course but I think that’s not that likely due to the mainstream message out there on ACC especially in the USA. The media message is weak

  4. 4
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #2,

    “Industrial growth at the expense of ecosystems and climate must end as soon as possible.”

    The ending of growth is only the first step of a journey that needs to be completed extremely rapidly. We have run out of carbon budget, and are heavily in carbon debt. We need to stay under the 1 C temperature increase ceiling if we are to avoid the climate Apocalypse. The two main components required are the cessation of CO2 emissions and the reduction of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The sooner these are accomplished, the better. The only real near-term lever under our control is drastic reduction of fossil energy use; the more drastic, the greater our chances of avoiding the climate Apocalypse.

  5. 5
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “when you put the numbers in, they won’t do the job alone”

    Numerous detailed studies have shown that claim to be false. While you have repeated that assertion numerous times, you have yet to present any “numbers” regarding the actual, demonstrated potential for rapidly eliminating GHG emissions with renewable energy and efficiency.

    Nor has anyone except your straw man ever claimed that renewable energy and efficiency can “do the job alone”. Other crucial measures include moving to organic agriculture and reversing deforestation, which again have been discussed in detail in numerous studies.

    What experts who have studied the issue have found — and have detailed in numerous studies — is that we can, if we choose, eliminate ALL fossil fuel use much more quickly and easily and at much lower cost than most people realize, with very large reductions achievable up front.

    Diogenes wrote: “There’s no alternative to strict demand reduction”

    Well, it is obvious that ending all GHG emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels requires reducing the demand for fossil fuels to zero.

    It does not, however, follow — as the fossil fuel interests would have us believe — that reducing the demand for fossil fuels requires reducing the demand for “energy”. In fact we have an abundant supply of zero-emission energy — orders of magnitude more energy, in fact, than all the fossil fuels on Earth could ever provide.

    Neither does it follow — as the fossil fuel interests would have us believe — that reducing the demand for energy requires reducing the demand for the goods and services that energy provides. With more than half the USA’s primary energy supply being outright wasted, we have huge potential for reducing the energy we use to provide the goods and services we need.

    Moreover, there is a false dichotomy here between “renewable energy and efficiency” on the one hand and “strict demand reduction” on the other.

    Increasing efficiency IS demand reduction. Residential rooftop solar IS demand reduction (just ask the electric utilities in Germany and Australia). Rapid deployment of renewable energy and efficiency technologies IS demand reduction.

    Remember, what urgently needs to be eliminated is not demand for goods and services, and not demand for energy — but demand for fossil fuels. A BTU of fossil fuel energy eliminated by personal sacrifice is indistinguishable from a BTU of fossil fuel energy eliminated by insulation, solar panels or wind turbines.

    In short, there is no reason whatsoever that completely eliminating the demand for fossil fuels must necessarily require “major personal deprivation and economic dislocations” — as the fossil fuel corporations, peak oil alarmists and others would have us believe.

  6. 6
    prokaryotes says:

    what urgently needs to be eliminated is not demand for goods and services, and not demand for energy — but demand for fossil fuels – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/unforced-variations-mar-2014/#sthash.Ce5dZhs3.dpuf

    A big motivation to accomplish less fossil fuel combustion would be to ban-restrict CO2 emitting vehicles in city centres. it is this kind of commitment which accelerates real changes.

  7. 7
    Russell says:

    If you’re not sufficiently alienated by Anthony Watts sense of entitlement to his own facts, he’s now promoting close encounters of the first kind .

  8. 8
    wheelsoc says:

    Just wanted to thank those that posted some resources in response to my question in the last thread. I’m still going through some of them.

  9. 9
    Random says:

    I do admit, I’m curious about the – hopefully – imminent model-data-comparisons for 2013. The last years they were ready in February. Are you guy factoring in the approach from Kosaka & Xie?

  10. 10
    MARodger says:

    pete best @3.
    Your European mpg figures look a bit low. This graphic is for UK average new car fuel economy (182 g/km = 38mpg, 133 g/km = 52 mpg, 95 g/km = 72 mpg.) from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders who can be a bit motorhead-ish when they start estimating stuff but on stuff like this they’re usually factual. The average for the fleet will be higher as older cars guzzle more but the ones that did 33 mpg must mainly be long ago strapped. And my understanding is that UK is poorer for mpg than Europeans.

  11. 11
    sidd says:

    Ice surface views of greenland added to

    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland-2013/

    sidd

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Gary Hurd says:

    I was just reading “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.”

    I think my “Mann number” is a fuzzy 2.

    [Response: Thanks Gary–I saw that, and posted on Facebook & twitter (@MichaelEMann). Thanks for the mention of the book and the interesting post :-) – mike]

  14. 14
    Dave says:

    What are the implications of the findings regarding the speed of the Pine Island Glacier, reported in this article ? I know that article is from a rather biased source and so I was wondering whether anyone from the RealClimate community could comment on the actual research and its relevance to warming of Antartica?

  15. 15
    prokaryotes says:

    Russsel #7, there is even a movie for this topic and watchable. In any case, E.T.’s could probe our atmosphere from far away to see what’s going on. They would notice that Earth is on the brink to a failed planet.

  16. 16
    Dominik Lenné says:

    Although widely criticized, there is this cap and trade policy in europe, this emission allowance system. I believe it has the potential to do job if overhauled a bit:

    – Include all instead of 50 % emissions. Small emitters like cardrivers, houseowners, small and medium businesses, buy their allowances from their fuel suppliers.

    – Allow to sell allowances for exported goods, but require to buy them for imported goods. This would make any exception for export oriented industries obsolete. Also it would give the governments of outside nations exporting into the EU an incentive to introduce an allowances system themselves, because they then can skim the allowances income, which would otherwise to the EU territory.

    – Distribute them completely by auctioning.

    – Reduce and detoxicate the Clean Development Mechanism so, that it really works.

    Then scrap all other policies. More or less.

  17. 17
    Hank Roberts says:

    MediaBugs is a service for correcting errors and problems in media coverage, funded with a grant from the Knight News Challenge program for innovations in journalism

  18. 18
    Tony Weddle says:

    SA: “What experts who have studied the issue have found — and have detailed in numerous studies — is that we can, if we choose, eliminate ALL fossil fuel use much more quickly and easily and at much lower cost than most people realize, with very large reductions achievable up front.

    And I’ve seen studies that show renewables can’t power industrial civilisation, as we know it, because of the low net energy return (even if the resources were available to build out a big enough infrastructure). Of course, air travel and international trade, as we know it, would be impossible.

    I’m afraid we’re going to have to go cold turkey to get out of this mess. And if we don’t get out of this mess, the cold turkey will be even more frigid.

  19. 19
    sidd says:

    Re:Pine Island Glacier recent papers

    Dutrieux(2014)
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1244341

    Johnson(2014)
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1247385

    (Please don’t make me read or look at the Register. Do use doi numbers instead.) Dutrieux argues that 2012 reduction in ice melt is due to lowering of thermocline, allowing less warm circumpolar deep water over an underwater ridge which partly blocks the entrance into the cavity beneath the shelf. Johnson warns that the glacier has been known to retreat for decades, once triggered by circumpolar deep water intrusion or loss of ice shelf buttressing. Neither paper is cause for rejoicing; the first because increased variability in PIG ice melt can swing both ways, the second since, once initiated, glacier retreat can continue for a generation.

    sidd

  20. 20
    Hank Roberts says:

    > this article
    (Grauniad on the speed of the Pine Island Glacier

    Look at 8,000 years ago: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature_Rev_png
    It’s reasonable that happened 8,000 years ago — after the ice age ended — as happened each time after an ice age ended — there was a warmest-ever spell.

    It makes sense there would be more melting of the glaciers, in that thousand years or so, right at the warmest temperature ever — until now.

    But you wouldn’t expect that to be happening again, 8,000 years afterward — we should be into the long slow cooling period that has happened after every previous ice age.

    What’s the difference?
    People
    What’s the difference?
    Rate of change
    What’s the difference?
    Where we’re headed.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    simon abingdon says:

    #5 Secular Animist “abundant supply of zero-emission energy”

    So let’s get to work developing the nuclear airliner.

  23. 23
    Alex Lawrie says:

    I have a question for the climate scientists out there: what would constitute an emergency?

    What I mean by this question is that climate change poses a real challenge to social change movements because it is gradual, delayed in its effects, and uneven in its impacts.The message that is coming from climate scientists at present, along with climate-hawkish public figures, is that we still have time to change – that international conferences, evolving public policies, steady but small annual emissions reductions, could still prove sufficient to keep us within the ‘safe zone’.

    I’ll assume for the sake of argument that this is presently true – that we have time to build consensus and implement incremental reforms that do not disrupt everyday life. But presumably, as long as the consensus fails to emerge and the reforms are not implemented, there will come a point when that isn’t true any more.

    This point – which I’ll call the Do or Die moment – is when a combination of accumulated emissions, gathering positive feedbacks, and operational fossil fuel infrastructure, have pushed the level of risk to heights that no sane person would contemplate. It is the point when further delay would have such drastic impacts that the world would be unrecognisable afterwards and organised human society difficult if not impossible.

    As I say, I don’t claim we’re at that stage yet. It might be a considerable distance away. But whether we can accurately pin point it or not, as long as GHGs are accumulating in the atmosphere it must be waiting for us somewhere in the future.

    At the Do or Die point, different policies become rational. Countries that continue to emit more than a very modest amount per capita can be said to be committing an act of war against all others. Policies that rely on further technological innovation are redundant. Politicians that maintain incremental policies must be removed from office by whatever means are necessary, without waiting for elections. Severe restrictions on people’s lifestyles, including rationing and blanket bans on certain technologies, are essential. Climate change becomes an issue akin to the proverbial asteroid-hurtling-towards the earth; no activity or discussion other than those directly addressing the crisis can be justified as sane or worthwhile.

    Not a scenario which I hope to live through. But one which is a very real possibility.

    So my question is, can we pin down the threshold? Can we draw a line in the sand and say, if these variables reach these levels, we must Do or Die? I imagine the threshold will be subject to regular revision as our understanding improves, and there is a real problem in agreeing what is an acceptable level of risk when the danger is existential… But even with those caveats, we need to be able to clearly show people right now where (to the best of our knowledge) the edge of the cliff is. Otherwise, we can’t see how fast we are approaching it or be ready to grab the steering wheel.

  24. 24
    freemike says:

    I hope my question isn’t littering this comment section but you have helped me before. Can anyone help steer me to information for the skeptic argument that “It’s been warmer in the last 2000 years so why aren’t we boiling now”
    I know of temp reconstructions by Mann,Bradley and also read skeptical sciences relevant sections. I am looking for something maybe a little more succinct (I know answers are not easy and often long). Thanks again.

  25. 25
    Pete Best says:

    Here is a really good conspiracy video that speaks as if a lot of people will get rich from tackling ACC/GW. In actual fact using capitalism is a good idea to get the job done I would suggest.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp0Mp1KxPOM

    Terrible video but you get to see all of your favourite climate conspirators under one roof and they are interviewed in a terribly dramatic way which is laughable but at the same time watched by a lot of people no doubt.

  26. 26
    Pete Best says:

    Here is a cheerful story regarding UK car emissions.

    http://priuschat.com/threads/uk-new-car-average-fuel-economy-now-54-mpg-uk-45-mpg-us.107526/

    I wonder how the USA fares in new cars sold over the past 5 years

  27. 27
    Pete Best says:

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1089565_new-car-average-fuel-economy-rose-to-24-8-mpg-in-2013

    American still buy relatively thirsty cars. You have to admit it that in the USA no one is really getting serious about the subject.

  28. 28
    BillS says:

    Interesting short Commentary in the latest Nature Geoscience (paywalled) by Schmidt, Shindell, & Tsigaridis titled “Reconciling Warming Trends”.
    Perhaps Gavin could say a word or two on the topic?

    [Response: See next thread. – gavin]

  29. 29
    Hank Roberts says:

    > the world would be unrecognisable afterwards

    If we know the baseline for a degraded ecosystem, we can work to restore it. But if the baseline shifted before we really had a chance to chart it, then we can end up accepting a degraded state as normal — or even as an improvement.

    Know any teenagers? Ask them to tell you in as much detail as possible what the state of the world was thirty years ago, and what has changed.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    Radge Havers says:

    Alex @ 23

    “So my question is, can we pin down the threshold?”

    Not a climate scientist, but that hasn’t stopped me before… My take is (short answer) sort of ‘no’. It’s not so much finding the fog shrouded edge of an actuall cliff as it is a best estimate deemed practical given socio-political atmospherics; like a line with a target point on it tossed artfully out along a variably striking slope by a skilled Master of Climate Ceremonies.

    Think 350.org, for instance.

  32. 32
    DIOGENES says:

    Alex Lawrie #23,
    “At the Do or Die point, different policies become rational….Severe restrictions on people’s lifestyles, including rationing and blanket bans on certain technologies, are essential…..So my question is, can we pin down the threshold? Can we draw a line in the sand and say, if these variables reach these levels, we must Do or Die?”

    We can pin down the threshold quantitatively; see the thread If You See Something, Say Something (IYSSSS), #291. To stay within the temperature target/ceiling of ~1 C that leading climate scientists recommend, we have run out of carbon budget, and have accumulated significant carbon debt. In other words, we are at your Do or Die point NOW! To have any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse, we need to institute NOW the severe restrictions on lifestyles/fossil fuel expenditures to which you allude above. THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION! You will never find any postings to the contrary that contain any numbers, and for good reason. They won’t do the job.

  33. 33
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Tony Weddle — 3 Mar 2014 @ 10:33 PM at ~#18

    You responded to SecularAnamist (3 Mar 2014 @ 12:08 PM at ~#5) with- “And I’ve seen studies that show renewables can’t power industrial civilisation, as we know it.”

    Could both you and SecularAnamist post references/links to the studies that support your assertions so the rest of us can evaluate them?

    Steve

  34. 34
    SecularAnimist says:

    Alex Lawrie: “I have a question for the climate scientists out there: what would constitute an emergency?”

    I’m not a scientist, but then that’s not really a scientific question.

    FWIW, as far as I’m concerned, based on your definition of emergency (“accumulated emissions, gathering positive feedbacks, and operational fossil fuel infrastructure, have pushed the level of risk to heights that no sane person would contemplate … further delay would have such drastic impacts that the world would be unrecognisable afterwards and organised human society difficult if not impossible”) anthropogenic global warming has obviously been an emergency for decades.

  35. 35
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “we need to institute NOW the severe restrictions on lifestyles/fossil fuel expenditures to which you allude above”

    Eliminating unnecessary use of your computer would be a good first step.

  36. 36
    DIOGENES says:

    Tony Weddle #18,

    ” And I’ve seen studies that show renewables can’t power industrial civilisation, as we know it, because of the low net energy return (even if the resources were available to build out a big enough infrastructure). Of course, air travel and international trade, as we know it, would be impossible.

    I’m afraid we’re going to have to go cold turkey to get out of this mess. And if we don’t get out of this mess, the cold turkey will be even more frigid.”

    You are right on target. And, you notice these postings that try to convince us that renewables or some other ‘magic bullet’ will allow us to avoid the climate Apocalypse NEVER contain any numbers to support their assertions. That’s because these postings, which should be displayed in a section of paid advertisements, have no factual basis.

  37. 37
    Dave Peters says:

    A couple items of food-for-thot from 3/3/14:

    Warren Buffet released his annual letter to stockholders on the first, and sat for a long CNBC interview. As one of the biggest re-insurers in the world, he has found “no trend” yet, in climate-related, insured damages. Also, oblique to climate, one of his long term reasons for investing in the Burlington RR, was its compatability with environmental pressures over the long run. (That was second, though, to comparative advantage due to truck driver wages.) As to whether he plans to “electrify it,” he said that would be a lousy way of making money. Also, Buffet favors Keystone.

    Also on the air: C-SPAN covers and archives argument before the Supreme Court, which yesterday heard the current challenge to EPA carbon regulation. We are where we are with our imperfect institutions, but there was an other-worldly quality to this one. Since concern over climate cannot command a contemporary consent for restrictions in Congress, the Court was wrestling with the absurdities of the ploy to jam CO2 into the machinery established in the seventies for airborne toxins. There is both high drama and a biting glimpse into the deepest collective reality, when such absurdity is so intertwined with great consequence.[Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA]

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?317950-1/regulation-greenhouse-gases-oral-argument

  38. 38
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “That’s because these postings, which should be displayed in a section of paid advertisements

    So apparently you’ve run out of anything substantive to say, so you are now going to once again flood the thread with childish name-calling and baseless, deliberately inflammatory accusations that anyone who disagrees with you is a paid liar.

    Which seems like a pretty unnecessary use of fossil-fuel-generated electricity.

  39. 39
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #33,

    “Could both you and SecularAnamist post references/links to the studies that support your assertions so the rest of us can evaluate them?”

    Better yet, instead of assertions, why don’t the people who constantly promote renewables, nuclear, and other technologies post the temperature and other critical quantitative targets that would be met if these technologies were implemented? Hint – there’s no way implementation of these technologies (without radical fossil demand reductions) would even come close to staying within the temperature ceilings required to avoid the climate Apocalypse. That’s why all you’ll ever see are these baseless assertions that these technologies can save us.

  40. 40
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    I submitted a comment on the Science editorial. h/t Skeptical Science. It may not show yet. You can register and do the same.

    My comment:
    “Resistance is futile.” What a useless outlook. First you say you approve of the KXL pipeline. You go on to say that if the tar sands carbon is not moved through our country by pipeline it will be moved by other means with the threat of serious spillage. This is the mean side of “resistance is futile:” if you do not let us hurt you one way we will hurt you worse another way. Must Americans meekly surrender to environmental blackmail? How do you know that other transport can not be resisted once stopping the pipeline gives people hope? Notice that Canadians do not want this carbon moved to either of their coastlines. That’s why the company wants to bring it here and give USA a cut of the action. Notice also that human vs rulers feeling is so strong in Canada that their government has passed a law to limit freedom of speech on the subject. (1)

    I should mention that your argument that not yet having a pipeline has not prevented (some) tar sands exploitation, so the pipeline would not fulfill its purpose of furthering this exploitation is a non sequitur.

    The real situation is that the carbon remaining in the ground is several times what we can safely burn. Most of it must be left in the ground. You say that some Arctic carbon is not yet accessible. Alas, part of the function of tar sands carbon is thaw the Arctic and make Arctic carbon available. Will investors invest in this carbon? Resistance makes such investment look riskier. Risk inclines investors to look elsewhere.

    How long must business as usual go on before you deem it alright to say “Enough?” Once climate get bad enough or carbon investment looks risky enough or we seriously support non-carbon energy it will take twenty years or more to make the change. In a decent society this could be a wonderful jobs program. It would have to be a pretty good jobs program. Why put it off and let things get worse? You may counter that we are far from that much good sense, yet if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. I fear your editorial has cost humanity a few years before we acknowledge that we must leave unburned carbon in the ground. Some will be able to drive their Priuses in comfort for quite a few years, but for the great mass of humanity your “resistance is futile” position is useless and dangerous.

    Alas I forgot to include the reference which was to be a great plug for Kate.

  41. 41
    DIOGENES says:

    Pete Best #25,

    “as if a lot of people will get rich from tackling ACC/GW”

    Wili, one of our most astute posters, once referenced a book titled Windfall, which describes how entrepreneurs, charlatans, and multinational corporations are devising ingenious ways to make a buck amid the coming climate chaos. But, in truth, they’re not the only ones. When we see posts on the climate blogs that promote technologies (renewables, energy efficiency improvement, nuclear, etc) that will purportedly save us from the climate Apocalypse without showing the quantitative targets that implementation of these technologies would produce, all we’re seeing are variants of the Windfall scheme. Interestingly, the only way we can have any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse is the most severe reduction in fossil fuel demand/expenditures, and this will produce Windfalls for almost no one. Paradoxically, the only schemes that provide a chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse will result in massive global Depression because of reduced demand, and those schemes that provide no chance of reaching the necessary temperature targets for avoiding climate Apocalypse will result in Windfalls for the few!

  42. 42
    Hank Roberts says:

    Just a reminder of work in progress by the physicists and engineers at the Azimuth Project:

    These are action plans the Azimuth Project currently considers to be the highest priorities:

    In phase 1, 2010 to 2030, the world finally gets serious about avoiding catastrophic global warming impacts (i.e. Hell and High Water). We increasingly embrace a serious price for carbon dioxide and a very aggressive technology deployment effort.

    In phase 2, 2030 to 2050, after multiple climate Pearl Harbors and the inevitable collapse of the Ponzi scheme we call the global economy, the world gets truly desperate, and actions that are not plausible today — including widespread conservation — become commonplace …

    We believe that while optimism is a crucial part of any successful endeavor, it is also good to have a plan that assumes plausibly suboptimal behavior on the part of the human race. This is the idea behind Plan C.

    Typically, people only take dramatic action when their livelihood is in immediate danger. This is not the currently the case with climate change and the depletion of the world’s oil reserves. The effects of these problems are only slowly becoming visible. Many doubt their seriousness. Few are willing to take bold steps. And since most proposed solutions involve some self-sacrifice, nobody wants to take the first step.

    It is quite possible that the conditions for dramatic action will only be met at a fairly late stage — a stage when we wish we had taken action much sooner. At this point, we may have to make some very hard choices. It would be good to have Plan C mapped out by then.

    It’s not a site for ranters, but if you can do arithmetic, or write coherently and convincingly, or both, there’s work there to help with.

  43. 43
    SecularAnimist says:

    Steve Fish wrote: “Could both you and SecularAnamist post references/links to the studies that support your assertions so the rest of us can evaluate them?”

    I have done so repeatedly — to the point that the moderators of this site have had to remind me that it is a climate science blog, not an energy and efficiency technology blog, and that the comment threads are a forum for discussing climate science, and not a forum for discussing or debating the merits of different approaches to phasing out energy-related GHG emissions.

    I certainly do not feel compelled to try the patience of the moderators in response to the childish provocations of an anonymous troll whose consistent response when I have posted such links has been to ignore them completely and accuse me of lying for money.

    I would commend to your attention the work of Marc Jacobson at Stanford, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Institute For Local Self-Reliance, and the Rodale Institute. For news about renewable energy and efficiency technologies, I recommend CleanTechnica.com as a good starting point.

  44. 44
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “the only schemes that provide a chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse will result in massive global Depression because of reduced demand”

    Nonsense.

    The only “demand” that needs to be reduced is the demand for fossil fuels.

    And there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that eliminating ALL fossil fuel use very quickly needs to harm the economy at all — let alone cause a “massive global Depression”. (Of course, it will cause a massive transfer of wealth from the fossil fuel industry to other sectors of the economy, but that’s not the same thing as a “massive global Depression”, as the fossil fuel corporations would have us believe.)

    Which is of course why you have NEVER, in all your dozens and dozens of comments, given ANY reason why eliminating the demand for fossil fuels must necessarily cause any economic downturn whatsoever.

    You just keep repeating that it is so, and when anyone dares to ask you WHY it must be so, you respond with personal attacks, insults and false accusations of lying for money.

    I am utterly bored with your appallingly buffoonish trollery, Diogenes. The stupid flame-baiting games you are trying to play here were old and tired and worn out when USENET was young.

  45. 45
    wili says:

    @ Hank at #42: Thanks for the reminder and links. Your quotes remind me of the old saying: “We have only two modes—complacency and panic.” – James R. Schlesinger–originally about US energy policy, but I think it applies more broadly, and is particularly apt here.

    Diogenes, thanks for the undeserved compliment. I had forgotten about that link. It seem to me that the next step in implementing your plan is to get as many people to themselves pledge to reduce their personal carbon footprint by over 10% per year starting now, and to push institutions that they are affiliated with–churches, businesses, schools, municipalities…–to do the same. There needs to be a media front as well. Are there other allies you’ve run across.

  46. 46
    Eric Swanson says:

    #42 – Hank Roberts – If Plan B fails, Plan C must deal with the impact of 9 or 10 billion people on a planet with resources for perhaps as few as 2 without fossil carbon. Simply feeding all those people will require doubling agricultural production if their diets are improved with a bit more meat as the fish in the oceans will be long gone and that’s all supposed to happen without tractors powered by fossil fuels and nitrogen fertilizers from NatGas. The likely “solution” would be some sort of selective “culling” of of the herd, with all the negative consequences that implies. Maybe a global crusade of the religious of one faith against those on the other side, as in Fundamentalist Christians vs Islamist Jihad or perhaps national wars, maybe Pakistan vs India or China vs Russia, each of which has nukes. There are folks like Guy McPherson who suggest humanity might not make it past 2050.

  47. 47
    Thomas says:

    Diogenes and others. When I look at renewables buildout I do think about EROEI, and what that says for the limits to the growth rate under the assumption that the buildout uses no more power than current renewables are putting out. At fixed time for energy breakeven (and you need to factor in a time lag between when the energy is spent and when the renewable resource is actually producing), you find you can exponentially grow the renewables. Typical energy breakeven times for solar/wind are now under two years, so they could support something like a 40% annual growth rate, which amounts to something like thirty times if sustained over a decade. So energy really isn’t a limitation on how much we can build, but it does constrain the length of time needed to reach a given target.

    We can also free up more to spike the buildout rate beyond the self-sustainable rate by making efficiency improvements (assuming we are willing to give the fossil fuel plants a few extra years before shutdown), that could be directed towards a renewables buildout. For instance widespread adoption of LED lighting could shave something like 10% of the electricty demand, and this could be doable within two to three years.

    What is needed is the political will. The technology has already shown it is capable, and it is improving at a pretty good clip, so the achievable self-powered growthrate is actually increasing with time.

  48. 48
    Hank Roberts says:

    > pledge to reduce their personal carbon footprint
    > by over 10% per year

    Wait. Take a baseline, then do way better.
    Aim for a negative footprint, not just a shallower footprint.

    You kids who don’t recall when gasoline was 33 cents a gallon aren’t in near the carbon debt we old guys mostly accumulated, just driving around.

  49. 49
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 4 Mar 2014 @ 3:12 PM at ~#39

    You quote my question to Tony Weddle and SecularAnimist and tell them, essentially, not to answer. I fully expect that they will provide some data because I believe that they are honest posters here. I would never ask you for references and data regarding how to solve our climate problem because you never, ever, provide anything when asked. All you are able to talk about is a climate target, NOT A PLAN, and dismiss anyone who provides a way to accomplish a strict target by writing a very repetitive religious tract including the phrases “carbon budget,” “carbon debt,” “apocalypse,” and “there is no other option” (usually capitalized). Because you express this silliness on a blog where all of the contributors and most other commenters know much more about the climate problem than you do, your behavior is that of a doomer climate denier troll.

    Because your targets are so absolutist and inflexible your actual plan should include the method by which all of the leaders of the world can be convinced to, in turn, convince the 7 billion people of the world to completely stop emitting carbon and all but the most opulent to voluntarily die of starvation. If you had any intellectual honesty you could, for example, provide constructive arguments to refute the thoughtful points made by SecularAnamist (3 Mar 2014 @ 12:08 PM, ~#5 above). Just claiming that others are wrong without any factual argument is what a doomer climate denial troll does to clog discussion on a science blog.

    Steve

  50. 50
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Mar 2014 @ 10:15 PM, at around #48

    Excellent recommendation. This is difficult for the young folks, but as an old fart I am running very carbon negative to try and make up.

    Steve


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