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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. 551
    Walter says:

    Just quickly, re “The 10% per year front end emissions reductions of Hansen’s half-reforestation plan or Anderson’s base plan (even though it is based on the 2 C political target) will result in GDP reductions on the order of 6-7% per year initially”

    curious what are those gdp decline numbers based on Diogenes? thx

    Hey, I hear Obama is full speed ahead after picking up on my Carbon Pollution Regulation is the rational way forward ….

    See the numbers don’t matter it’s the ‘quality’ of site visitors that counts! hehehe

  2. 552
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter #551,

    “curious what are those gdp decline numbers based on Diogenes? thx”

    I’ve seen various plots of GDP vs total energy use, some with accompanying analysis, and there’s about a 60-70% link. Given that most of the energy supply today is fossil-based, if we make hard cuts to fossil initially in any of the plans, that’s the type of reduction we will see in GDP. As time goes on, and low carbon replace fossil, the relationship becomes weaker. But, remember my analysis of the Ceres Clean Trillion plan. The average emissions reduction over 36 years is ~1.5% per year. That means the dependence of GDP on fossil will weaken very slowly under that plan.

  3. 553
    DIOGENES says:

    Pete Dunkelberg,

    On another thread, you provided a link to a list of ‘climate misinformers (http://skepticalscience.com/misinformers.php). That’s only a partial list; those are the Type 1 misinformers, who deny the science (officially, anyway). You omitted the Type 2 misinformers, who accept the portion of the climate science that fits their pre-determined agenda, but reject the climate science that informs them what targets are necessary to avoid the ultimate climate disaster. The latter are no more credible than the former. We don’t even need their pictures to identify them as in your link; their use of fictional terms like ‘prosperity’ to describe the radical belt-tightening required to avoid climate disaster is the giveaway!

  4. 554
    MAXMARE says:

    I can account for my lack of understanding about the clear and present danger posed by CC until 9 years ago when I came across the 2003 pentagon report on the possible effects by not having them shown to me.
    Now when trying to convince other people to even look at the problem it doesn’t help measuring words.
    Even in these forum most of my words have been edited out and I possibly agree with the criteria used for it and recognize the breakdown in discourse that will follow if not for this very criteria.
    I still think the hubris that allows people to think that better batteries or hydroponics will deliver us from CC is the same hubris concerned people show when they measure their words.
    Showing statistics, rate of methane emission, or some other hard measured fact falls short of conveying to people that the death of billions of people is imminent in a historical time frame if not acted upon in the very present day.
    I am not articulate enough to try convince people of the true dangers of CC if I am not allowed to hit you over the head with a mental stick because you see we are hominids, the same ones that flee from pain and seek pleasure.
    I know every thing is futile but limiting what you can tell people to solid facts shows little imagination…twice.
    Telling a tale affects people in far more profound ways than telling them facts, the same way being burn by fire is more effective at fearing it and moving away from it than any explanation you can conjure up.
    I still don’t know why I not allowed to express my concern about hundreds of nuclear power plants when society turns into chaos and are left to melt and emit pesky harmful radiation.

  5. 555
    Hank Roberts says:

    Proposal: discuss what might be the pieces of humanity’s eventual response to overuse of fossil fuels, because
    (1) no single plan does everything, but many of the plans do something, and
    (2) much of the calculation is available to discuss, and
    (3) humanity’s response, like the climate, is an emergent phenomenon, and
    (4) when asked to conserve, people do better than top-down planners imagine,
    and (5) the best is all too often the enemy of the good.

    You’re presumably doing all you can personally, and I hope I have been.
    (Or you’re here to mock those who are trying, but I dowannatalk2u)

    What’s possibly going to help, that you know about?
    Citations, of course, are expected.

  6. 556
    Jim Larsen says:

    555 Hank,

    The problem with plans is that an immediate fight breaks out between those who like breeder reactors and want us to take an improved version of what France did; and those who say “Hell no, we won’t glow!” (If you see that graffiti, be sure to paint in front, “Is nuclear power dangerous?”)

    There are no viable plans without nukes. (Dio just says kill the world’s economy on purpose – that is NOT a viable plan)

    Viable plans with nukes are easy, but there are no plans with nukes that prevent proliferation.

    Take your pick.

  7. 557
    Chris Dudley says:

    Hank (#555),

    Since energy infrastructure looks different in different places now, it may well be that that will continue for clean infrastructure. For the US, the project you are proposing has already been carries of by Amory Lovins in his book “Reinventing Fire” Here is a summary of four options for electricity:

    “Four futures, one broad direction

    The U.S. electricity system’s unprecedented risks and opportunities now make “business-as-usual” unrealistic. Decades of steadily slackening demand growth have dwindled to about zero or less and can no longer be counted on to raise revenues. Just replacing aging U.S. power plants and infrastructure—for example, over 70 percent of U.S. coal plants, half of U.S. coal capacity, are over 30 years old and 33 percent over 40—would cost $3.5 trillion (undiscounted). The transmission and distribution grid is inherently prone to blackouts that scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimate cost U.S. businesses and residents up to $160 billion annually. Perpetuating this system would not only degrade national security but also drive up carbon emissions 40 percent by 2050—nearly 600 percent above levels needed to meet U.S. treaty obligations.

    Electricity’s carbon risks could be managed by new nuclear plants and “clean coal,” sustaining and even bolstering many of the power sector’s century-old institutions —traditional business models, vendors, and regulators, coal-mining, even railroads. But that wouldn’t meet all of the needs of the 21st century and would indeed create new risks: high and uncertain costs plus increased financial, fuel, security, and technological risks. Such “bet the company” investments in large conventional power plants would also foreclose other choices for decades.

    Alternatively, climate-safe power from quintupling today’s utility-scale renewable capacity, so it meets 80–90 percent of 2050 electricity needs, would cost slightly less and cut carbon emissions even more. This approach would sustain or improve reliability while reducing financial, fuel, and technology risks. Finally, letting distributed generators compete and interconnect fairly could nearly eliminate blackout risks by organizing the grid into local “microgrids” that normally interconnect but can stand alone at need (“islanding”). This resilient future, already demonstrated in about 20 experiments worldwide and being successfully adopted in Denmark and Cuba, would cost about the same as business-as-usual, but would manage all its risks and maximize customer choice, entrepreneurial opportunity, and innovation.

    In short, many different electricity futures are possible. They differ immaterially in cost but greatly in risk. Choosing a future with similar cost but far lower risk, while fitting and speeding powerful market trends, can restore American energy leadership and security by building the electricity system of the 21st century with high skill and ambition, just as we did with the technology of more than a century ago.”

    http://www.rmi.org/electricity

    Transportation industry and buildings are also covered.

    In some places where a full US-style grid does not already exist, the shape of technology available now may make the development of one less inevitable. Here is a look at some options in India: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/beyond-grid-electricity-india

  8. 558
    Walter says:

    fwiw some mind-boggling China electricity & grid info 2013 – [all text is quotes from links provided]

    By the end of July, 5.95GW of PV-generated electricity has been connected to the grid within SGCC’s operating area, with a year-on-year increase of 134%.

    Since February this year (to Sept 2013), the company has accepted 625 distributed PV grid interconnection applications with a total installed capacity of 1.31GW. SGCC’s PV generation grew fastest in the world.

      Since State Council attached great importance to the development of PV industry, … to achieve the total installed PV generation capacity of 35GW in 2015, PV industry ushers in an important opportunity to accelerate the generation and improve the grid interconnection service.
    http://www.sgcc.com.cn/ywlm/mediacenter/headline/09/296564.shtml

    http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/national_energy_grid/china/chinesenationallectricitygrid.shtml

    On December 27th (2013), Shanghai Yetang 110kV new generation of smart substation was put into operation, signifying the completion of 6 smart substations of the new generation in the first batch.
    http://www.sgcc.com.cn/ywlm/mediacenter/corporatenews/01/300811.shtml

    In 2013, … (as well as meeting 2015 renewable capacity targets), new renewable energy capacity additions surpassed thermal installations for the first time . In terms of total capacity on the grid, thermal dipped below 70 percent http://theenergycollective.com/michael-davidson/335271/china-s-electricity-sector-glance-2013

    image % chnage by fuel type year on year 2007 to 2013. http://theenergycollective.com/sites/theenergycollective.com/files/imagepicker/478171/2013_FLH.png

  9. 559
    Hank Roberts says:

    So, instead of fighting about what’s inappropriate here, how about the wedges that are of interest to climatology?

    Because the change in the world will happen as an emergent change, from the ‘bottom up’ actions of individuals; governments will follow, to the extent you live in “a republic, if you can keep it”

    So assume you do instead of arguing that non-climatology thing.

    What are the pieces of the puzzle that change the climate?
    There are a lot of experts here, with resources, to contribute.

    Given enough puzzle pieces, SOMEONE should be able to put a plan together that, while incomplete, suggests what could be done.

    How about it? Do some work rather than complain that nobody is standing up astride the world to force everyone to do the right thing?

    Soil conservation, restoration — how much can it help/cost?
    Woody agriculture instead of corn/soy — how much difference?
    My hobbyhorse, bringing the big whales back to fertilize the ocean …
    White roofs — reflecting visible light — when reroofing;
    High-emissive roofs — radiating infrared — when reroofing;
    harvesting krill — good idea?
    algae-based biofuel — how’s that working?
    better electric storage — implications?

  10. 560

    “Viable plans with nukes are easy”

    Mmm. I’ve heard that said often enough, but it seems to assume that nukes are easily scalable. In the real world, we’d need to drastically scale up:

    1) a highly skilled and specialized labor force;
    2) available water for cooling, in many locations; this may sound a bit frivolous, but the water requirements are very large, and there have been several incidents now in which drought restricted generation; and
    3) most critically, financing. That appears to be the real killer, per “The Economist”:

    http://www.economist.com/node/21549936

    (Hopefully that link will work.)

    I personally wouldn’t mind seeing more nuclear built, but I am highly dubious that anything like the requisite amount could be built in anything like the requisite time.

    Observations from 2 of the only 4 US reactors currently under construction:

    http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2014-03-16/plant-vogtle-expansion-draws-industry-veteran
    http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2014-03-10/plant-vogtle-module-weighing-1100-tons-moved-place

    Background on same:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle#Units_3_and_4

    Summary:

    Hard numbers are hard to find, but reportedly the project is behind at least 14 months and $1.7 billion. Although I note that one blogger tells us:

    Meanwhile, the Sanmen project in China, which is identical to the Vogtle project using the same contractor, is under budget at $5.9 billion and ahead on its 4-year schedule. The difference between the projects is the perverse incentives of the U.S. regulatory system that rewards failure and managerial incompetence.

    http://www.masterresource.org/2013/03/vogtle-nuclear-more-overruns/
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Last-module-for-first-AP1000-2201141.html

  11. 561
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://co2scorecard.org/home/researchitem/27
    Demand Reduction Slashes US CO2 Emissions in 2012

    “An October 2013 analysis by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) re-affirmed the main findings of this research note.”

    The CO2 Scorecard initiative supports climate policy monitoring, evaluation, and communications through user-friendly data analysis and display tools, dashboards, and research notes. This website is the first step towards our goal of bringing together on one site all of the publicly-available data on:
    CO2 emissions;
    Other sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) and GHG sinks;
    Energy production and consumption;
    Energy investment, prices and taxes;
    Socio-economic benchmarks & drivers.

  12. 562
    prokaryotes says:

    Is this the oldest known climate record?

    The ups and downs of early atmospheric oxygen

    There is a growing body of data that points to oxygen production and accumulation in the ocean and atmosphere long before the GOE,” said Timothy W. Lyons, a professor of biogeochemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences and the lead author of the comprehensive synthesis of more than a decade’s worth of study within and outside his research group.
    Lyons and his coauthors, Christopher T. Reinhard and Noah J. Planavsky, both former UCR graduate students, note that once oxygen finally established a strong foothold in the atmosphere starting about 2.3 billion years ago it likely rose to high concentrations, potentially even levels like those seen today. Then, for reasons not well understood, the bottom fell out, oxygen plummeted to a tiny fraction of today’s level, and the ocean remained mostly oxygen free for more than a billion years.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219133331.htm (DOI: 10.1038/nature13068 ) and see oldest records from “The Geological Time Scale” http://tinyurl.com/qxdscdx or here Archean Molecular Fossils and the Early Rise of Eukaryotes

  13. 563
    Walter says:

    Kevin fyi, QUOTING James Hansen:

    pg 8 “” This distortion of reality, pointed out by Armond Cohen13 of the Clean Air Task Force, is common and contributes to energy misconceptions discussed below.” and “China and the U.S. are the source of more than 40% of today’s emissions (Fig. 7a). Reduction of THEIR emissions is essential and URGENT.”

    pg 9 “Second, the United States and China should agree to cooperate in rapid deployment to scale in China of advanced, safe nuclear power for peaceful purposes, specifically to provide clean electricity replacing aging and planned coal-fired power plants,….”

    “Furthermore, for reasons that do not need to be debated here, construction time for a nuclear power plant in the U.S. is of the order of a decade, while it is as short as 3-4 years in China.”

    pg 10 (at least please read this one page – mainly about untruths and manipulations of the world US public regarding Nuclear energy) “I am saying that the global energy discussion should be based on facts, not on myths”

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140221_DraftOpinion.pdf

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140310_ChinaOpEd.pdf

    further research about what James H summarizes here can be found elsewhere which confirms what he says is in fact correct.

    Also water is not required for the gas cooled reactors, nor the safest geniv which the pebble bed reactor. Can find the ref at the moment, but China is planned to build ~300 reactors power plants before 2030. I suspect/guess the US will still be talking about the possibility and the Greens/enviros running street protests about it.

    There is always a long lag time between Science/Tech and the public awareness of what is and what isn’t. ( oh well ) More people could pay attention to James Hansen now, for their own benefit.

  14. 564
    Walter says:

    More China insights, from a China man. And yes this info and what happens in China politically and economically has a major impact on what will come out from Paris 2015 (if anything). How China is treated by the US and what the US decides it can do about cutting emissions itself is critical and comes first, imo.

    https://theconversation.com/party-insider-offers-rare-insight-into-what-chinas-reforms-mean-25367

    eg
    “Several key challenges are now shaping the future of China,” he replies. “The prime tensions are between economic development and social fairness; economic growth and ecological protection; social stability and political democracy; individual rights and public goods; and between the China model and universal values.” … ”

    My comment .. the same challenges that are little different than right now in the US and other western nations, imo. China isn’t the only nation on Earth that is run or controlled by an unelected elite, ahem.

  15. 565
    Jim Larsen says:

    560 Kevin M said, “I am highly dubious that anything like the requisite amount could be built in anything like the requisite time.”

    France took ~20 years.

  16. 566
    Hank Roberts says:

    So — any of the atmosperic scientists and geologists talking about this odd coincidence?

    The newly discovered ‘OH hole’ in the atmosphere over the Pacific northeast of Australia
    http://www.wired.com/2014/04/oh-hole-washing-machine/
    shown here (German, from the source)

    http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Abb3de_w1.jpg

    is roughly coincident with the big geomagnetic anomaly that’s been known for a while in about the same area of the Pacific

    http://specialpapers.gsapubs.org/content/433/1/F2.large.jpg

    “Isochrons correspond to identified magnetic anomalies. This map was prepared by David Sandwell …

    (that page is paywalled, that’s a link to a result in an image search)

    It’s long been tempting to imagine some kind of connection between Earth’s magnetic field and climate, but no mechanism found
    but now, there’s this — hmmmmmm???

  17. 567
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oh, no surprise I’m not the first to wonder about that particular location, it’s been studied in the past:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=ozone+hole+geomagnetic+anomaly

  18. 568
    Hank Roberts says:

    Ooookay, it’s a small effect compared to the forcing from burning fossil fuels, but there is possibly at least something interesting there:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682611002896?np=y

    Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
    Volume 74, January 2012, Pages 129–135

    Abstract

    We highlight the existence of an intriguing and to date unreported relationship between the surface area of the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) of the geomagnetic field and the current trend in global sea level rise. These two geophysical variables have been growing coherently during the last three centuries, thus strongly suggesting a causal relationship supported by some statistical tests. The monotonic increase of the SAA surface area since 1600 may have been associated with an increased inflow of radiation energy through the inner Van Allen belt with a consequent warming of the Earth’s atmosphere and finally global sea level rise. An alternative suggestive and original explanation is also offered, in which pressure changes at the core–mantle boundary cause surface deformations and relative sea level variations. Although we cannot establish a clear connection between SAA dynamics and global warming, the strong correlation between the former and global sea level supports the idea that global warming may be at least partly controlled by deep Earth processes triggering geomagnetic phenomena, such as the South Atlantic Anomaly, on a century time scale.

  19. 569
    Walter says:

    #565 Jim L … re France Nuclear, make that 10 years (?)

    “France achieved the greatest reduction of energy intensity (Fig. 4b) via a shift over about a 10-year period to nuclear power for 80% of its electricity. French carbon intensity stalled at about half of global carbon intensity, because of fossil fuel use in transportation, heating and manufacturing.”

    By Dr James Hansen, page 5 published Feb 2014 … http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140221_DraftOpinion.pdf

    Page 9 “Second, the United States and China should agree to cooperate in rapid deployment to scale in China of advanced, safe nuclear power for peaceful purposes, specifically to provide clean electricity replacing aging and planned coal-fired power plants, as well as averting the need for
    extensive planned coal gasification in China, the most carbon-intensive source of electricity.14″

    “Failure of the United States and China to achieve such cooperation would practically guarantee the future predicted by the pessimists who believe that humanity is incapable of exercising intelligent free-will in a situation as complex as global climate change, where rewards for fossil fuel use are immediate and the most undesirable consequences are delayed. Failure of the two largest polluters to cooperate, while there is still time to avert disastrous change, would assure that global warming moves well into the dangerous zone, unleashing domino effects as global climate impacts would make it more difficult for all nations to move to clean energies”

  20. 570
    Walter says:

    Cyclone ITA, Cat 5, hits NE Australia in 9 hours.
    It’s the same rain depression that just hit Guadalcanal (Solomon Is).
    That flooding rain was a record weather event, rainfall 700mm was double their once in a century planning scenario. Unprecedented iow.

    Haiyan that hit the phillipines last Nov 3013 was also Cat 5. MOst powerful storm ever to make landfall. “The Hong Kong Observatory put the storm’s maximum ten-minute sustained winds at 275 km/h (170 mph)” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Haiyan

    Cyclone ITA’s current windspeed max is estimated via radar at 300 K/hr 186 Miles per hour.

    Cyclone Ita is now stronger than Cyclone Yasi, which tore apart Mission Beach and Cardwell in 2011. (Australia’s most powerful cyclone ever.)

    A disaster area has already been declared.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/disaster-declared-in-cooktown-as-severe-tropical-cyclone-ita-threatens-to-wipe-out-town/story-fnkt21jb-1226880411248

    Cooktown, north of the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, was last battered by a cyclone in February 1949.

    Only about ~9,000 people in the path. Any homes built before 1985 warned they will not survive this Cyclone.

    Unprecedented, and extremely late in the season — northern cyclones usual end by the end of February – so this is like Gulf States or Florida being hit by a major Hurricane in October.

    What catastrophic climate change? What urgency for global action?

    eta 8-9 hours from now 10am NYC time.

  21. 571

    Since we are on the topic of geoscience, I tried to capture what I think are periodic perturbations to ENSO in this blog post:
    http://contextearth.com/2014/04/05/the-chandler-wobble-and-the-soim/

    ENSO is only quasi-periodic yet the underlying mechanism may be periodic. The Chandler Wobble beat frequency of about 6.4 years is the right frequency to set off Mathieu cycles in liquid sloshing.

    Fun stuff.

  22. 572
    Killian says:

    Killian #118,

    “The fact is, consumption must fall dramatically to 1. get back to <300 ppm and can then 2. rebound a bit to maintain < 300. Those who frame this discussion in terms of maintaining current productive ability are quite simply either ignoring or dismissing facts we cannot afford to dismiss."

    You are 100% correct. Unfortunately, as with my plan in #63 that requires severe fossil demand reduction to achieve its targets, that's not the message even posters on a climate advocacy blog want to hear, much less the general public. The plans that will offer even a chance of avoiding the worst of the climate Apocalypse are not salable because of their hard demand reductions (and ensuing global economic collapse), and the plans that are salable will insure an express ride to the Apocalypse. We know what has to be done; is there any way you see to get this accomplished in the real-world?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 8 Mar 2014 @ 6:46 AM

    First of all, thanks for asking. The Alphabetistas don’t much care for my commentaries and are constantly asking for references. Convenient given I am always pointing to the future, for which there are none, thus I can be safely ignored and ridiculed. My field, permaculture, is not recognized by Alphabetistas, so I have no relevance. Yet, I do have alphabits, B.A. from a Top 10 school in it’s category (Redlands University) and a PDC, permaculture Design Course certificate, probably the single most important bits one can have at this juncture. So, thanks; weird for me to be asked.

    I have just written and deleted a looong response. Let me offer a shorter one: http://www.academia.edu/3778603/Autonomy_An_Idea_Whose_Time_Has_Come

    Skip to page 19. This long essay gets around to saying what I’ve been saying, but never gets to the climate/resource issue. But it does describe the basic invisible structures (social structures) changes we must engage in. I’ve covered all his ground in posts here, so there’s some verbosity. However, he does it in a style the Alphebetistas here can appreciate.

    Pay close attention to the fact that we’ve already seen the types of large-scale invisible structures we need now in our past, and even our future. Paris had a year of egalitarian governance I’d never heard of. Spain had a short period. The Zapatistas are currently showing how an entire region can run on such models. This is what the writer brought to this discussion. Until he ties it more concretely to the physical challenges, it’s so much talk. But do note I do not have to point to only small tribal societies to support my call for such simplification. Modern people have done this on large scales.

    What he basically advocates is what I’ve been saying since 2011. Let’s just start with that and go on from there.

  23. 573
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #72,

    “I’m a bit confused by one thing: If Anderson’s plan has a target of the unsafe 2 degrees and is therefore too slow, why is his goal for rate of emissions reduction 10% per year, while Hansen’s is 6-9% per year, iirc. And can we be so sure that reforestation will work? Aren’t climate changes in various regions going to make it very difficult to reestablish forests?”

    Yes, that caught me by surprise at first, as well. There may be two reasons, one minor, one major. The minor reason relates to a complaint I made a few weeks ago. There appears to be no common platform used for climate change amelioration planning. So, Hansen may have one model, Anderson another, McKibben another, etc. The models may incorporate different assumptions; I have no idea, but that could account for some differences.

    The major reason is that Anderson doesn’t assume massive reforestation, while Hansen does. For Hansen’s 6% demand reduction case, he basically assumes 100GtC removal from reforestation over 2030-2080; 9% with 50GtC. Remember, absent geo-engineering, there are basically two ways to reduce emissions/concentration: demand reduction (either cutting back on consumption or replacing high-carbon low-efficiency technologies with low-carbon high efficiency) or carbon removal. So, given how far down the climate change road we have gone already, we have two main choices if we want to devise a plan (based on 1 C target) that will avoid the ultimate catastrophe: make outlandish assumptions about demand reduction, or make outlandish assumptions about carbon removal. I have done the first; Hansen has done the second.

    Why has Hansen taken that approach? There are at least two reasons. First, the physics probably won’t allow us to get where we need to go from demand reduction alone. Look at the extreme; immediate cessation of CO2 emissions. The published results I have seen (which do not include carbon feedbacks, and are therefore optimistic) show interim temperature peaks ranging from 1.2 C to ~2 C, with some larger outliers. Well, 1.2 C is about the maximum that Hansen is comfortable with, and then only for short time periods. So, even with immediate cessation of emissions, the desired temperature ceiling will be exceeded.

    Equally important is the political aspect. Suppose Hansen had recommended demand reductions at the level that I proposed: over 20% per year. Look at the reaction I received on a climate advocacy blog. Can you imagine the reaction Hansen would receive from the general public? So, going past the 10% demand reduction level seems to be the third rail of climate change amelioration proposals. In reality, I suspect that neither 10% nor 20% demand reduction will be salable to the general public. Frankly, I don’t see Hansen’s plan being any more acceptable than my plan, and if you listen to Anderson’s videos carefully and read his papers carefully, he doesn’t come across as believing even his plan for achieving 2 C will be acceptable. I think it’s still theoretically possible to get where we need to go to avoid catastrophe, but I see zero early warning indicators that there is any interest among the general public to do so.

  24. 574
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #72,

    In my initial response to you, I stated, in part: “So, given how far down the climate change road we have gone already, we have two main choices if we want to devise a plan (based on 1 C target) that will avoid the ultimate catastrophe: make outlandish assumptions about demand reduction, or make outlandish assumptions about carbon removal. I have done the first; Hansen has done the second.”

    In actuality, I have made both outlandish assumptions, with the radical demand reduction being the primary outlandish assumption. I have taken Hansen’s outlandish carbon removal assumption, and made it even more outlandish by moving the start date forward ~fifteen years. The reason I do this is to add contingencies and risk reduction. There are so many uncertainties in predicting where temperature et al will go that taking the most immediate action on both strict demand reduction and massive reforestation seems the most prudent course.

    I also think another reason Hansen chose to emphasize massive reforestation over demand reduction, especially consumption reduction, is that the former will lead to jobs and profit while the latter may eliminate much of both. Much easier to sell activity than non-activity.

    Finally, the main recommendation I get from Hansen’s Plos One paper is the ~1 C temperature ceiling target. I interpret the 100-50 GtC options and the 6-9% options as two examples of how to achieve the temperature target. If the world leaders came back to Hansen and stated they could only guarantee e.g. 25GtC of reforestation, then they would be greeted with demand reductions in the double digits. Hansen just did not present those regions of parameter space in his paper.

  25. 575
    Chris Dudley says:

    Walter (#563),

    Gas cooled reactors still need water to generate electricity and water for a heat sink at the cold end.

    The US puts effort into having a nuclear fleet that operates safely and yet it has over a dozen near misses on accidents each year. Last year that appears to have included a tampering incident. http://timesfreepress.com/news/2014/mar/08/fewer-nuclear-plant-near-misses-recorded-oversight/

    Cutting corners to reduce construction times may not be the best choice for a political order in a country whose mythology says it is always one disaster away from a political revolution.

    Nuclear power is on the decline in the US because it is not economical compared to natural gas and wind power, even when plants have been fully paid off. It is hard to see how construction of new reactors would be proposed again for the South Texas Project (rejected owing to foreign ownership) with Austin getting solar power at $0.05/kWh. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/13/solar-sold-less-5%C2%A2kwh-austin-texas/

    It is difficult to see how new nuclear power can be competitive with solar and wind plus transmission now and with advances in electrification of transportation, low cost storage, which previously would have helped nuclear power, will eliminate the whole baseload concept. I doubt that more than 20% of our present nuclear fleet will be operating a decade from now. This raises issues on funding of decommissioning which are already troubling in Vermont.

    China, in its imitations of the West, obviously makes very poor choices in power sources, as can be seen in its heavy reliance on coal. Perhaps they will be just as obstinate regarding nuclear power. Whereas in Greek mythology, heroes sow the seeds of their own destruction, in China, dynasties do. Nuclear power looks like that kind of seed.

  26. 576

    #565–”France did it [ie, built a nuclear energy economy] in ~20 years.”

    Yes, France’s story is one of success: energy exports are a source source of national income, domestic electricity is affordable, and there have been no serious accidents.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/France/

    (That’s the WNO; there are probably more critical profiles out there if you look.)

    It was not cheap:

    France’s nuclear power program cost some FF 400 billion in 1993 currency*, excluding interest during construction. Half of this was self-financed by EdF, 8% (FF 32 billion) was invested by the state but discounted in 1981, and 42% (FF 168 billion) was financed by commercial loans. In 1988 medium and long-term debt amounted to FF 233 billion, or 1.8 times EdF’s sales revenue. However, by the end of 1998 EdF had reduced this to FF 122 billion, about two thirds of sales revenue (FF 185 billion) and less than three times annual cash flow. Net interest charges had dropped to FF 7.7 billion (4.16% of sales) by 1998.

    * 6.56 FF = EUR 1 (Jan 1999)

    In 2006 EdF sales revenue was EUR 58.9 billion and debt had fallen to EUR 14.9 billion – 25% of this.

    But then, any departure from BAU is not going to be, so we shouldn’t be surprised. 58 reactors providing 63 GW or so comprise a sizable chunk of infrastructure.

    However, just how replicable is this on a global scale in 2014? The jury is still out on the Vogtle expansion and its sister project in South Carolina, but it’s expensive–a projected $17 billion at this point. It doesn’t seem likely that this is cheap enough to spark a US ‘nuclear renaissance.’

    The big action is in China, but:

    “China will invest more in nuclear power technological innovations, promote application of advanced technology, improve the equipment level, and attach great importance to personnel training. China’s installed capacity of nuclear power is expected to reach 40 GWe by 2015.” The installed generating capacity of wind power is expected to reach 100 GWe by the end of 2015, and that of solar energy is expected to exceed 21 GWe by then…

    That, too, is from the World Nuclear Organization:

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/China–Nuclear-Power/

    As for the longer term:

    “By around 2040, PWRs are expected to level off at 200 GWe and fast reactors progressively increase from 2020 to at least 200 GWe by 2050 and 1400 GWe by 2100.”

    So, let’s take the 2050 projections: if we assume the projection just quoted comes to pass, that implies ‘at least’ 400 GW of nuclear generation. How does that compare with Chinese capacity?

    Installed generating capacity at the end of 2012 reached 1145 GWe 19% up in two years. Capacity growth is expected to slow, reaching about 1600 GWe in 2020, and 2000 GWe in 2025.

    So, on current form, the world’s most ambitious nuclear program will account for less than 20% of capacity–probably much less, but the mismatch in projection dates obscures the exact number.

    Numbers on the investment involved seem to be few and far between, but reportedly the Shandong project is estimated at $5.1 billion. Those are APR-1000 units, nominally 1250 MW, with two reactors planned. So, for order of magnitude, let’s say China plans to put in 360 GW at roughly $2 billion per GW–that’s $720 billion, optimistically.

    Big, but doable, perhaps. Is it likely to quintuple? Or even double? And we haven’t got into the other constraints yet.

    And that’s for China, where cash is plentiful by developing world standards. What about India (also building new nuclear capacity these days, BTW), Indonesia, Mexico?

    I don’t mean to bash nuclear (and thereby re-ignite a perennial and pointless controversy here.) I’m glad that China is expanding nuclear capacity, because I see it as much less dangerous than coal. And there will, whatever we do or don’t wish, be a role for nuclear in the global energy mix over the next century.

    But I do mean to question what appears to be a facile assumption that nuclear can scale up easy and quickly if only we could muster the political will to do it. Real world experience doesn’t support that assumption very well, as I see it.

  27. 577
    Killian says:

    573 Wili #72, So, given how far down the climate change road we have gone already, we have two main choices if we want to devise a plan (based on 1 C target) that will avoid the ultimate catastrophe: make outlandish assumptions about demand reduction, or make outlandish assumptions about carbon removal. I have done the first; Hansen has done the second.

    These are not outlandish, they are conservative. The problem here is failure to not listen to we minimum Alphabetistas. When you do not understand how to design systems that reinsert us into natural cycles by designing like nature does, you are stuck with assumptions about what “modern” responses are and only within “modern” types of actions. Hansen, for example, considers reforestation, but only to a point. In fact, we can reforest virtually anywhere. Yes, that will become more difficult as temps rise and GHGs accumulate, but you would be surprised what can be done. but because it hasn’t been studied by Alphebetistas, these options don’t exist.

    Further, Hansen includes “carbon farming”, or rebuilding carbon in our soils i.e. growing soil, but, again, only includes Big Ag acreage when, in fact, sustainable systems will have far more widespread areas of acreage being holistically farmed because the food system must localize and be resilient. That is, we need farms to move to natural farming, but most food will be produced at homes and in neighborhoods. There is as much area in lawns as there is in corn production in the US, for example.

    Basically, my guestimate is we can equal all current emissions, and more, just with natural carbon sequestration. Given this, it is ridiculous to claim we can only equalize and maintain. Wrong. We can actually start reversing CO2 accumulation almost immediately – at least on human time scales. We can easily move the planet to carbon farming in five to ten years. If we then also make the kinds of changes we need to deal with resources sustainably, too, we’re now going backwards by 2 or more ppm/yr.

    Seriously, we could literally be back to sub-300 in 20 years. We won’t be, but we could. 100 years is not just feasible, but would be embarrassingly slow.

    Equally important is the political aspect. Suppose Hansen had recommended demand reductions at the level that I proposed: over 20% per year. Look at the reaction I received on a climate advocacy blog. Can you imagine the reaction Hansen would receive from the general public? So, going past the 10% demand reduction level seems to be the third rail of climate change amelioration proposals. In reality, I suspect that neither 10% nor 20% demand reduction will be salable to the general public.

    Fact is, you point to a burning house, people act. You get on the radio and say Japan has attacked, the country willingly goes to war and sacrifices comfort and convenience to do so. The problem is we are afraid to acknowledge we are at the point that FDR was in Dec. 1941: It’s time to go to war. We need a global war-level footing and attitude. We have to stop accepting the lie that people are only freaked out by hearing extreme truths. They are freaked out when they hear extreme truths *if* they are not also told how to fix the problem.

    We have to tell people the house is on fire and to get the heck out.

  28. 578
    wili says:

    K at #577 wrote:

    “we can reforest virtually anywhere” Hard to grow the grains and beans needed to feed 7+billion people on a planet where all the land is covered only with forest. In any case, reforestation is really only effective in cooling the planet when done in (certain places) in the tropics. Mid- and high-latitude reforestation will cause albedo shifts that undo the carbon sequestration effect, iirc.

    “my guestimate is we can equal all current emissions, and more, just with natural carbon sequestration. Given this, it is ridiculous to claim we can only equalize and maintain. Wrong.”

    So based on a ‘guestimate’ you feel justified in unequivocally calling a claim ‘rediculous’ and “Wrong”? Hmmm.

    “We have to tell people the house is on fire and to get the heck out.”

    Nicely put, but we also have to tell them to stop throwing every more gas (=ff) on the flame, and certainly to stop doing so at accelerating rates of increase!

    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=66.0;attach=6025;image

  29. 579
    MAXMARE says:

    #559
    “Given enough puzzle pieces, SOMEONE should be able to put a plan together that, while incomplete, suggests what could be done. How about it? Do some work rather than complain that nobody is standing up astride the world to force everyone to do the right thing?”

    I do have a plan, see the end of my post.

    #555
    “You’re presumably doing all you can personally, and I hope I have been. (Or you’re here to mock those who are trying, but I dowannatalk2u)”

    I haven’t been doing anything different than if there was no CC, but then I live a frugal life. Now that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do as much as is needed when only if everybody else is doing it too so I can do it in the comfort of knowing there is a way out.

    #559
    “Soil conservation, restoration — how much can it help/cost?
    Woody agriculture instead of corn/soy — how much difference?
    My hobbyhorse, bringing the big whales back to fertilize the ocean …
    White roofs — reflecting visible light — when reroofing;
    High-emissive roofs — radiating infrared — when reroofing;
    harvesting krill — good idea?
    algae-based biofuel — how’s that working?
    better electric storage — implications?”

    How much can it help?. if it helps you should do it, I don’t understand your not understanding.
    White roof? are you serious? What about dressing in white, would that help too?

    #577
    “Seriously, we could literally be back to sub-300 in 20 years. We won’t be, but we could. 100 years is not just feasible, but would be embarrassingly slow.
    Fact is, you point to a burning house, people act. You get on the radio and say Japan has attacked, the country willingly goes to war and sacrifices comfort and convenience to do so. The problem is we are afraid to acknowledge we are at the point that FDR was in Dec. 1941: It’s time to go to war. We need a global war-level footing and attitude. We have to stop accepting the lie that people are only freaked out by hearing extreme truths. They are freaked out when they hear extreme truths *if* they are not also told how to fix the problem.
    We have to tell people the house is on fire and to get the heck out.”

    I agree with this. Only trouble is people in the burning house are getting ready to eat breakfast while they watch it burn as they have no other plan.

    Ok, folks here is my plan and you only need one hand,

    i. Stop burning FF.
    ii. Start reusing the maufactured goods you already have. Start growing food in any patch of soil with the help of your community and manufacture what you may need.
    iii. Tell people this is the only solution every time anyone asks you what the possible solution for CC could be after hearing in the news some unusually large number of people have died after being hit by a weather event that cannot be linked with more than 95% confidence to CC.
    iv. Stop telling people nonsense about painting roofs white or that you need your mommy’s permission to tell people the truth without having a citation and a reference to back it up.
    v. If this plan is not enacted by people CC will do.

    Yes, some people will be harmed in the proccess of enacting this or any other plan.

  30. 580
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #577,

    “Fact is, you point to a burning house, people act. You get on the radio and say Japan has attacked, the country willingly goes to war and sacrifices comfort and convenience to do so. The problem is we are afraid to acknowledge we are at the point that FDR was in Dec. 1941: It’s time to go to war. We need a global war-level footing and attitude.”

    Here’s the problem as I see it. We need true sustainability to avoid the impending catastrophe. What is sustainability? It starts with living in a climate suitable to our nature/structure. The polar bear lives in polar regions, not in the tropics, because it is built/structured for cold weather. Similar for species that live in the tropics. We believe it’s our right to live in any type of climate, and generate all the myriad types of structures and heating/cooling systems required to keep us alive in those inherently inhospitable climates.

    Sustainability requires obtaining resources locally, depositing wastes locally, and recycling as much of the waste as possible. It also means using the minimal resources required for survival. That’s how every other species lives, but us. However, survival is the starting point for how we use resources. Wasting resources for non-survival purposes seems to be the global pastime. And, the waste of resources goes well beyond energy resources.

    The above mode of living necessary to avoid catastrophe bears no relation to how we live now (essentially, the polar opposite of the above), or how we want to live. Look at the major climate advocacy blogs: RC and CP. The main discussions revolve around how to keep doing what we’re doing but using low-carbon and higher efficiency technologies. Low carbon energy sources are a necessary condition of sustainability, but do not even begin to approach a sufficient condition. Unfortunately, if one reads through the posts on these blogs, transitioning to low carbon is the be all and end all of what we need.

    Because of the above, the message of yours I quoted has no audience, perceptive and accurate though it may be. Show me one group who wants to hear the message that we need to change course radically, and take great strides toward sustainability. The general public? In recent posts, I quoted recent Gallup and Australian polls showing that public support/concern for climate change amelioration had peaked around 2007, and had dropped a significant amount since then. 2007, when we had a significant melting of the polar ice cap, and one would have thought public concern would increase. But, we don’t need polls to tell us public support/concern/interest is withering. People we meet, TV programs, Presidential debates, etc, reflect the withering interest.

    Do the people who post on RC and CP want to hear that message? Read their comments: switch to low carbon ASAP; that will solve all our problems. No mention of sustainability. Yes, it will solve the financial problems of the low carbon technology investors, creating some of the greatest Windfalls the world has ever known. It will do little to avoid the impending disaster.

  31. 581
    Pete Best says:

    I would suggest that we need to question humans motives on every level about ACC as there are lots of methods of reducing fossil fuels impact on the earth systems but presently there are few ways to combat it.

    The first motive is LIFE STYLE: if the first world (annex 1) countries expect to continue as we presently are in our life styles then transforming our energy systems to a renewable infrastructure will be difficult. There are many options to consider but unless everyone knows and cares about reducing emissions (which they don’t universally that is) then its going to be a real mess. There are so many examples of humans travelling for recreation and on business which might not be necessary but who is going to tell them in the libertarian world of the USA and others that they should reconsider what they are doing.

    EFFICIENCY: making everything more efficient and using equipment more efficiently can amass large scale energy cuts. Everything can be impacted here.

    (THREAT) ENERGY COMPANIES that provide only one kind of energy might not be around for long and hence will fight and have done successfully for 40 years to obfuscate the evidence and actually increase their market share. Getting all of these companies to come on board and still remain profitable is a massive issue. Politics, economics and vested interests will always hold sway in some very libertarian motivated countries and hence this is a big issue to overcome

    The global Energy system is about 14 TW in size presently and its not going to shrink either. increases of 50% by 2030 are slated to occur. Its a massive job

  32. 582
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #577,

    “They are freaked out when they hear extreme truths *if* they are not also told how to fix the problem.”

    I will guarantee you they will be ‘freaked out’ when they hear what the required ‘fix’ to the problem is. You’re making the assumption that the desire for survival and longevity trumps all. Back in the mid-50s, there used to be the adage: Better Dead than Red! Narrowly, it meant that it was better to be dead than live under Communism. More broadly, it reflected a truism that many people place more importance on other values than life itself. Today, we see many people pursuing very risky behaviors that impact longevity adversely because they get various vicarious pleasures from doing so.

    The population at large understands what will be required to halt in some way the inexorable advance of climate change. As Gail put it in one of my posts: “One reason people are not motivated to change their behavior is that activists and scientists have tried to placate them with the myth that no sacrifice is required, and we can have all our toys by switching to “green” energy sources. Deniers know in a visceral way that is simply not possible.” Only on the climate advocacy blogs can such nonsense as ‘prosperity’ accompanying real climate change amelioration be propounded and posted and, worse yet, accepted by the ideologues. My guess is that the majority of the world’s population have no interest in surrendering all the ‘benefits’ of modern technology and resource exploitation for extended survival. This is confirmed by the continued climate-destroying actions of any group category we can identify. Even the polls, which require zero commitment of action, can’t get the non-binding statements of support from the pollees!

    That’s the difference between climate change action and Pearl Harbor or the house on fire. Pearl Harbor or the house on fire offered the threat of taking away what we have, and for that people were willing to fight and take other actions. Real climate change action requires VOLUNTARILY GIVING UP WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE, just the opposite of Pearl Harbor or the house on fire, and that’s the last thing we the people want to do!

  33. 583
    Jim Larsen says:

    Speaking of toys, once one considers servers and towers, a single iPhone uses as much electricity as a refrigerator.

    [Response: Cite? Don't actually believe this. - gavin]

    [Response: Nor do I. - mike]

  34. 584
    wili says:

    “Pearl Harbor or the house on fire offered the threat of taking away what we have, and for that people were willing to fight and take other actions. Real climate change action requires VOLUNTARILY GIVING UP WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE, just the opposite of Pearl Harbor or the house on fire, and that’s the last thing we the people want to do!”

    Yes and no.

    In a house fire, if you get out and the house burns down, you are still losing everything (except your life).

    I think the real difference here was immediacy and visibility of the threat. The idea that swarms of kamakaze fighters were about to fly into your town and blow up everything, or the threat that the wall of fire is about to consume your are threats you can vividly see/imagine and can see how they may hurt you in the very short term. They are the kind of threats we are basically hard wired to respond to with alarm, at least.

    Threats that don’t have a face or an immediate, threatening image are easily dismissed as constructs, abstractions, or at worst, tragedies that happen to other people but can “never happen to me.”

    What we need now, more than just additional facts and more accurate models, is teams of artists and marketers that know how to attach compelling imagery with motivational messaging–a world wide organization of such, really. As Kim pointed out, we have been far out-organized (and, not unrelated, out spent) by the other side. You can’t overcome a well organized global dis-information campaign without an at least equally organized, at least as global truth campaign: truth even more compellingly told than the perpetrators of the lies. 350 was trying to do some of that. But there is much more to be done.

  35. 585
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #584,

    “What we need now, more than just additional facts and more accurate models, is teams of artists and marketers that know how to attach compelling imagery with motivational messaging–a world wide organization of such, really”

    Marketers are most successful when there is either a major demand for the product, or they tell people exactly what they want to hear. That’s why the Farmma boys are so successful. Take this one little pil*, and you can go on doing what you’ve been doing, without having to change your erroneous habits one bit. That’s why the climate deniers are so successful. They know the public wants to keep living the profligate energy lifestyle, and their message resonates with that desire. That’s the tack the marketers on the climate advocacy blogs take. Take this one little pil* (aka renewables), and you can continue on your profligate use of energy and other resources, without having to endure the real hardships that climate change amelioration requires. Why, you can even have ‘prosperity’ and full employment, to boot.

    No, what we need is to get the hard truth to the public. Tell them the Huns are at the Gates, and real sacrifice is required if we are to have any hope of success in avoiding the impending catastrophe. It’s time for the climate advocacy blogs to stand up and be counted. Stop promulgating this unpaid advertising under the rubric of balance and fairness! It confuses the public about what is really required, and delays the hard actions that we need to begin immediately.

  36. 586
    Mal Adapted says:

    Anybody know what’s up with SkepticalScience.com? As of right now, neither my home nor my work computers are able to resolve the address. Sounds suspicious 8^(!

  37. 587
    flxible says:

    re 583 iPhone power use: The origin of the statement. – and study debunked.

  38. 588
    Jim Larsen says:

    583 Sorry, I read it recently but have no cite. I’ll retract the claim. If I find it again, I’ll post it.

  39. 589
    Jim Larsen says:

    http://news.msn.com/rumors/rumor-an-iphone-uses-more-power-than-a-refrigerator

    It looks like a denialist professor Mills is being used by the Clean Coal Energy foundation, inflating the energy use of an iPhone to scare people into supporting coal.

  40. 590
    dhogaza says:

    #583: Gavin, Mike, that’s based on a coal-industry shill’s analysis meant to prove that we need more coal-generated electricity. The same person once supposedly “proved” that the same was true for a PC.

    Widely debunked, here’s a piece at Joe Romm’s place:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/25/2518361/iphone-electricity-refrigerator/

  41. 591
    Walter says:

    Dr Craig Cormick from the CSIRO Education Outreach program takes a deeper look at what drives attitudes and the values chasm between the science fans and the non-science fans. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/what-do-people-really2c-really-think-about-science-and-technol/5346568

  42. 592
    Walter says:

    Typo correction sorry,

    US $22 TRILLION alone (GAO office data).

  43. 593
    Walter says:

    Years of Living Dangerously Season 1:
    Bonus Footage – The Crossroads of Climate and Faith
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY1HweENTeU
    5 minutes communicating

  44. 594
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian,

    Here’s part of the problem, and it comes from our team: the climate advocacy blogs.

    The following article appeared in today’s CP.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/13/3426117/climate-panel-avoiding-catastrophe-cheap/
    “Now you might think it would be a no-brainer that humanity would be willing to pay a very high cost to avoid such catastrophes and achieve the low emission “2°C” (3.6°F) pathway in the left figure above (RCP2.6 — which is a total greenhouse gas level in 2100 equivalent to roughly 450 parts per million of CO2). But the third report finds that the “cost” of doing so is to reduce the median annual growth of consumption over this century by a mere 0.06%.

    You read that right, the annual growth loss to preserve a livable climate is 0.06% — and that’s “relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.” So we’re talking annual growth of, say 2.24% rather than 2.30% to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries. As always, every word of the report was signed off on by every major government in the world.”

    At first glance, it appears that we can effectively retain our present modus operandi and save the biosphere at the same time, sort of like the ‘prosperity’ fiction we hear on RC many times. But, then, we look at the targets desired: 450ppm, 2 C (the figure in the article calls for ” stabilization at a level “likely” to stay below 2°C (3.6°F).”, which I interpret to mean some non-negligible chance of exceeding 2 C. Well, Hansen calls 2 C dangerous, Anderson calls 2 C the entre to the Extremely Dangerous regime, as do many other leading climate scientists. You have suggested desirable targets near 300ppm, and I have reluctantly accepted Hansen’s target of ~1 C, which correlates with about 350ppm (the target by 2100 given in his paper). So, what is the cause for jubilation over the IPCC findings expressed in the CP article, other than a Windfall for the renewables investors? Designing for catastrophe does not seem to me to be an appropriate objective!

    But, as I have stated before, there are code words that are the giveaway. When we see ‘prosperity’ on RC posts associated with climate change amelioration, we can just feel the hand reaching deep into our wallets and removing the contents. Likewise, when we see the magic words “every word of the report was signed off on by every major government in the world”, which includes such well-known fossil energy opponents as Australia, Canada, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and even the US-all/of/the/above-A et al, we can rest assured that the proposed actions will do nothing to decelerate the impending climate catastrophe.

    So, tell me, Coach, how do we tell the global citizenry their house is on fire, and we need to get the ppms down to ~300-or else?

  45. 595
    Hank Roberts says:

    A Marxist Joke

    Chico: Hey, I heard there’s a million dollars in the house next door.
    Groucho: But, there is no house next door!
    Chico: No? Well, let’s go build one then!

  46. 596
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#957),

    You are quite mistaken about prosperity being a fiction when renewables are adopted. While The Oil Drum folks get quite a lot backwards, they are not incorrect when looking at how energy returned divided energy invested affects economic prospects. Already this ratio is high for thin film solar panels (about 30) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032112006478 and is anticipated to climb as improved silicon refining methods reduce energy inputs for conventional panels. In the case of silicon, this ratio could end up in the hundreds as reannealing cosmic ray damage gives extended life to this technology. It is pretty much all upside from here on out, modulo the cost of climate damage should we delay.

  47. 597
    JimD says:

    I have been reading the Open Threads going back to the beginning of the year the last few days. I want to complement the moderators for allowing more in depth discussions than used to be the case when I came by this blog in previous years. There is a lot more value here than there used to be in my opinion. In light of that I plan on contributing some here off and on. I have not yet read ALL of the open thread comments since 1 Jan – though I intend too – so if this has already been covered then I apologize.

    EROEI of renewables.

    SecularAnimist has stated a number of times, and provided links to studies, that the EROEI of PV’s is comparable to that of fossil fuels. As someone who has been involved in EROEI discussions for many years and read many articles on such I have a very strong skepticism of such work and claims. They just do not make sense in light of all the other work on EROEI which has been done over the years. As many will note such calculations are difficult to execute and what is counted is extremely critical. Like economics one can make the numbers come out in any way you want just by adjusting the factors being considered in the calculation. Some EROEI calculations are rigorous and some are not. Strong advocates for a technology tend to not do very rigorous analysis.

    In light of what I have stated above I want to point to the work on the EROEI of Spain’s solar power industry by Prieto and Hall. They are publishing an entire book on their study.

    “Spain’s Photovoltaic Revolution. The Energy Return on Investment”, by Pedro Prieto and Charles A.S. Hall. 2013.

    If one has followed the field for some time Charles Hall is noted as one of the world’s best experts on calculating EROEI and, as such, his findings should be seriously considered.

    This study is the FIRST comprehensive EROEI study done on a large scale set of installations using actual operating data. This is not theoretical EROEI numbers but ‘actual’ numbers.

    “This is the first time an estimate of Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROI) of solar Photovoltaics (PV) has been based on real data from the sunniest European country, with accurate measures of generated energy from over 50,000 installations using several years of real-life data from optimized, efficient, multi-megawatt and well oriented facilities.

    Other life cycle and energy payback time analyses used models that left out dozens of energy inputs, leading to overestimates of energy such as payback time of 1-2 years (Fthenakis), EROI 8.3 (Bankier), and EROI of 5.9 to 11.8 (Raugei et al).”

    Note the mention of the works quoted by SecularAnimist.

    This is what Hall and Prieto found using actual cradle to grave real world data.

    “Prieto and Hall added dozens of energy inputs missing from past solar PV analyses. Perhaps previous studies missed these inputs because their authors weren’t overseeing several large photovoltaic projects and signing every purchase order like author Pedro Prieto. Charles A. S. Hall is one of the foremost experts in the world on the calculation of EROI. Together they’re a formidable team with data, methodology, and expertise that will be hard to refute.

    Prieto and Hall conclude that the EROI of solar photovoltaic is only 2.45, very low despite Spain’s ideal sunny climate. Germany’s EROI is probably 20 to 33% less (1.6 to 2), due to less sunlight and efficient rooftop installations.”

    Thus a cradle to grave full spectrum analysis of the EROEI of several years worth of actual data from Spain’s PV plants yields an EREOI number of 2.45. And Germany’s is estimated at 1.6 to 2.0.

    So my point is let us not be too complacent about what renewables can achieve until we know a lot more. Theoretical claims are normally found to be such and the real world numbers are almost always a lot less than theory indicates might be possible. We cannot maintain industrial civilization on EROEI numbers like those actually calculated.

    http://energyskeptic.com/2013/tilting-at-windmills-spains-solar-pv/

  48. 598
    Chris Dudley says:

    JimD (#597),

    Your link in an interesting read. Some large energy items that would not normally be included are

    GWh/year Factors

    138.6 Security and surveillance

    178 Electrical network / power line restructuring

    198 Associated energy costs to injection of intermittent loads; network stabilization associated costs (combined cycles)

    148.4 Premature phase out of unamortized manufacturing and other equipment

    To me, that seems like a double counting that exceeds the energy input for the equipment itself.

    A few items that seem a little hard to count in energy are:

    19.9 Insurance

    26.4 Fairs, exhibitions, promotions, conferences

    34.3 Administrative expenses

    14 Municipal taxes etc (2-4% of total project)

    8.7 Land cost (to rent or own)

    16 Indirect labor (consultants, notary publics, civil servants, legal costs, etc)

    6 Market or Agent representative

    11.9 Equipment theft and vandalism

    12.2 Contribution to Skynet to build terminators

    No, that last one is a joke, but as has been pointed out from time to time, carrying EROEI calculations deep into society ends up with an EROEI of 1 for anything you examine. If equipment is stolen and used to produce energy, obviously energy is being returned. So, there seem to be some problems with the counting method here. Certainly fossil fuels have a bigger impact on transmission costs owing to centralization, so that ought to be counted as an energy gain. Similarly, if insurance is to be counted as energy, then the reduced insurance rates owing to reduced health impacts from fossil fuel burning should be counted as well.

    I think the numerical value arrived at in this study can’t really teach us much about the energy advantages of renewables.

    In the review you linked there was no mention on how weather played into power production. If you have read the book, I’d be interested in knowing what was done there.

  49. 599
    GlenFergus says:

    Jim, the EROEI concept is fundamentally flawed. Most implementations assume that all forms of energy are of equal utility, which is absurd. On the thermodynamic level that is obviously wrong; so wrong that one wonders whether proponents know any physics at all. Did they just get the “can’t be created or destroyed” bit and miss all the rest? On a more practical level, EROEIs typically assumes that, say, transport fuels have the same value as thermal fuels. Junk science and junk economics.

  50. 600
    Killian says:

    K at #577 wrote: “we can reforest virtually anywhere” Hard to grow the grains and beans needed to feed 7+billion people on a planet where all the land is covered only with forest.

    Huh?

    In any case, reforestation is really only effective in cooling the planet when done in (certain places) in the tropics. Mid- and high-latitude reforestation will cause albedo shifts that undo the carbon sequestration effect, iirc.

    1. Not just about temps. 2. As a person who designs sustainable systems, why would I want to go about helping people design systems that make things worse? 3. Ask me before assuming.

    “my guestimate is we can equal all current emissions, and more, just with natural carbon sequestration. Given this, it is ridiculous to claim we can only equalize and maintain. Wrong.”

    So based on a ‘guestimate’ you feel justified in unequivocally calling a claim ‘rediculous’ and “Wrong”? Hmmm.

    Why are you being a pain? Not usually your style. Every scientific forward-looking estimate or scenario is a guestimate, so, yes, I do, because I’ve looked at this issue for years and only call it a guestimate only because I don’t have the exact carbon sequestration numbers for trees, etc., across different areas, or even trees in general. Also, reforestation means forests, not trees, so there is other stuff there. And, concurrent with all this will be widespread population shifts and changes in land use. The numbers are much, and even a guestimate will logically prove this logically. In the long run, virtually every home and/or community will be sequestering carbon if we build a sustainable future.

    “We have to tell people the house is on fire and to get the heck out.” Nicely put, but we also have to tell them to stop throwing every more gas (=ff) on the flame, and certainly to stop doing so at accelerating rates of increase!

    Obviously part of telling them to get out of the burning house.

    Comment by wili — 11 Apr 2014 @ 4:29 PM


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