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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. 301
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by flxible — 16 Mar 2014 @ 2:58 PM, ~#281

    I think we probably agree, so how about these basic concepts?

    1) Anybody who advocates trying to provide the energy needs for 7 billion people with just biomass probably forgot to take his meds.

    2) Insuring a worldwide balance between CO2 absorption and CO2 release in the human usage of plants will require a determined application of known science and common sense.

    3) Going further to provide for a substantial worldwide net storage of carbon by forests and other ecologies is politically difficult, but doable.

    Otherwise, using waste lumber for heating is an excellent use of biomass. It was already rapidly returning its carbon to the atmosphere. I have been heating my home with wood for much of the last 48 years and have only occasionally cut down a live tree, and this was mostly for fire and other safety measures.

    Steve

  2. 302
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote in #274: “What the renewables types on this blog want is unchallenged unpaid advertising.”

    Diogenes wrote in #282: “Unless the moderators have a counter-argument to what I have presented, it is a travesty to allow this misinformation/disinformation to be continually posted on such a critical issue.”

    So.

    First (#274), for about the millionth time, he falsely accuses commenters who he disparages as “renewables types” of using this blog for purposes of commercial gain, i.e. “advertising” — which is utter nonsense and nothing more than a pathetic flame-baiting insult.

    Moreover, he accuses “renewables types” of demanding “unchallenged” use of this blog. Of course, no one has ever done, or even hinted at, any such thing.

    Then (#282), he himself insists that the moderators must disallow any comments that he finds objectionable — and this is at least the second time he has seen fit to lecture the folks who maintain this site that their “credibility” depends on deleting comments that he disagrees with.

    The hypocrisy is stark.

    In nearly 25 years engaging in a variety of discussions in various Internet forums, I have rarely if ever encountered such blatant, boorish, belligerent trollery or such abject intellectual dishonesty.

    For some three months now, this fellow has dominated this site with a steady stream of repetitious slogans (“Apocalypse! Apocalypse! Deprivation and Hardship!”) presented as “THE plan”, empty rhetorical fallacies of every kind, self-glorifying blog combat with straw-men, and — increasingly — personal attacks on other commenters.

    And now — incredibly — here he is condescendingly lecturing the hosts of this site on how they should moderate the comment page to his liking.

    Is anyone else sick of it?

  3. 303
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Mar 2014 @ 1:00 PM, ~# 276

    No, no, you have Diogenes all wrong! He has explained in detail why “changing the supply side from high carbon to low carbon technology, while important, is the minor part of what’s needed if we want to avoid the Apocalypse.” He explains that it is demand that is important, such as “lowering thermostats in Winter, raising them in Summer.” That is what is going to avoid the apocalypse. Damn, it is all just so simple. I think that Diogenes is really wasting his talent on this blog and should take his message over to Wally World (see Walter’s recent posts above) where posting his inspired commentary anonymously will be welcomed. Besides, I think that Wally has only gotten a single response comment to his multiple essays and is lonely.

    (Please excuse the satire, but this was just too much temptation) Steve

  4. 304
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote (#282):

    “Let’s define X as the total emissions reductions per year required … about 95% of X has to come from behavior changes … The Windfall proponents on this blog also reject the behavior changes responsible for the 95% Why then do they [the moderators] allow posts that recommend ignoring a component responsible for 95% of the emissions reductions …”

    The moderators cannot disallow posts such as you describe, for the simple reason that there has never been even one such comment posted on this blog, by anyone.

    NO ONE commenting here has EVER “recommended” ignoring ANY “component” of emissions reductions.

    This is a perfect example of the blatant intellectual dishonesty of your tiresome, interminable blog combat with nonexistent straw-men.

    What multiple other commenters HAVE done, of course, is to utterly refute the multiple fallacies underlying your strident sloganeering that the technologies, efficiencies AND “behavior changes” needed to rapidly reduce emissions must necessarily impose “deprivation and hardship” on everyone.

    You have NEVER offered even the slightest support for that claim. And you have been utterly unable to respond to criticisms of it, except with personal attacks on the character and motivation of other commenters, and now, with demands that the moderators suppress criticism of your comments.

  5. 305
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote (#293): “The Windfall proponents who post their unpaid advertisements on this blog offer the complete fiction that prosperity is possible under the severe economic contraction required. The only prosperity that will result is for the Windfall proponents and their front men!”

    For the millionth time, Diogenes falsely accuses other commenters of using this blog for purposes of commercial gain, as a vehicle for “advertisements”.

    I would point out that this is exactly the same thing as accusing climate scientists of misrepresenting the science of global warming for grant money.

  6. 306

    Diogenes, #291, I’ve noticed a defense of sugarcoated solutions stating that nonsugarcoated solutions won’t be accepted (Thomas #285) and that once a sugarcoated solution is accepted, then increasing reductions can be achieved (the gradual step-by-step reductions approach). If the will was there for even this type of an approach, I’d say there is a decade or two left for trying this out to avoid the 4 degrees C variance limit (BTW, I’ve assumed that you’d agree that 4 degrees is the limit we could go to avoid an Apocalypse) but even the will isn’t there for a gradual step-by-step solution among the populace.

    I’ve always said it takes all kinds in this world and different people react differently to certain kinds of news. There is the reality that the majority of the people aren’t ready to accept that the problem is more serious than they think for various reasons and I’ve seen this among my colleagues who are all scientists (not in climate science) and academics who should know better. They believe the problem will be largely limited to the developing world, that the developed world will be insulated from global warming, while remaining ignorant of what has happened in the Arctic (I mean they are completely unaware of the latest trends). Even the IPCC is very conservative and behind by a few years while the earth system is changing much more rapidly.

    It may indeed take some huge events for people to wake up. By which time we’d be looking at a beyond 2 degrees C variance world and possibly 3 or 4 degrees C. I think 4 degrees C is the absolute limit after which the *only* solution left is the biosphere one. We have a couple of decades maximum before all this is resolved.

    I also think the average temperature variance is a poor metric of global warming. Even the maximum CO2 concentration to stabilise at is not an ideal metric. What matters is the total accumulated emissions. What is your definition for: Adaptable, Dangerous, and Apocalyptic (extinction of humanity) in terms of peak emissions (ppm CO2) and accumulated emissions (in Gt CO2 and C)?

    This paper I think gives a very good idea of what needs to be done and when in terms of different carbon budgets:
    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/20.full

  7. 307
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    > “We do not see a viable pathway with any known technology today to achieve the 350….”

    Well yeah since we are already at 400.

  8. 308
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    > “… I relised that the climate sensitivity is now thought likely to be at the high end of estimates….”

    Either that or the other way ’round.

  9. 309
    flxible says:

    Steve@301 – Your 3) is not only politically difficult, but practically difficult. Case in point: in the 30+ years I’ve been in one place I’ve planted/transplanted quite a number of trees, fir, cedar and standard root apple …. in the same time, slightly more mature trees in the immediate neighborhood have been removed, with most of the small parts chipped and sent to the landfill or used as surface mulch. Trunks and large limbs do usually go to firewood, but for sale, not for use of the property owner, many of whom prefer the convenience of fossil fuels for heating.

    As a master composter instrumental in advancing local education initiatives, I’ve been part of pushing my community to responsible agriculture, including composting sewage solids [the pictures on this Wikipedia entry are mine, as well as those on various other compost related entries :)], and campaigning to ban chemical pesticides locally. Unfortunately the citizenry are not all on board, including some of the ‘big box’ stores who’s sales can’t be limited.

    When it comes to actualities, we responsible folks are not in the majority, and likely won’t be any time soon.

  10. 310
    FurryCatHerder says:

    Well, if I’d known I was using this blog as unpaid advertising for renewables, I’d have asked IBM to lay me off 4 years earlier!

    But seriously, the situation with renewables is that technology has finally caught up with the cost of fossil fuels. That’s it — every year that goes by, more and more parts of the country (and the world, as a whole) have more expensive fossil fuel based energy than one can make themselves with renewable sources.

    Solar really used to be just for rich people, and people who want to live in the middle of nowhere. The 7 year old battery-backed part of my system makes electricity for about $0.23 / kWh. That’s not bad if you live in Hawaii or California, but it’s horrible for many parts of the rest of the country. The non-battery part of my systems makes electricity for around $0.06 / kWh (pre tax credit and rebate pricing), if you assume it breaks the day the warranty ends. If you assume it lasts as long as solar systems seem to actually last, it’s even cheaper. I pay $0.117 / kWh, up from $0.105 / kWh just a year or three ago. That’s why people talk about renewables.

  11. 311
    Phil L says:

    Secular Animist # 290, The Global Forest Watch website looks alarming, but it doesn’t differentiate between wildfires and timber harvest areas. For example if you zoom in on the province of Saskatchewan, there is a lot of red colour in the top 1/3 of the province. That is precambrian shield country with basically zero timber harvest. Forest fires are generally allowed to burn unless they are threatening communities.

  12. 312

    #293–”My posts are… extremely light in invective.”

    Oh, really? Then it must have been some mysterious trans-dimensional entity who typed:

    …these Windfall proponents, who are promoting fiction for personal gain… plans for geocode… cynically banking on fear and desperation to drive public acceptance of their non-solutions, in order to profit from this final affliction of humanity.

    INVECTIVE: of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse

    HYPOCRISY: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

  13. 313
    DIOGENES says:

    Ram #306,

    I can’t accept the 4 C as a viable target, although I read about more and more scientists resigning themselves to the fact that that’s where we are headed, if not higher. David Spratt, in a well-documented monograph that I documented previously, shows that we are in dangerous territory already at 0.8 C. Hansen, in his Plos One paper, raises serious concerns about going much above prior Holocene temperatures because of the impacts on ‘slow feedbacks’. He views 2 C as going into dangerous territory. At 4 C, I have a hard time imagining the carbon feedbacks not going on autopilot.

    You’re right about the lack of will for any meaningful action. Australia and the USA have had a number of extreme climate-related events in recent years, and what has been the response? Well, the recent polls I cited for USA and Australia asked minimal effort questions about climate change, and even those did not have majority support.

    And, even on the climate advocacy blogs like RC, what do we get? Well, we have proposals by e.g. McKinney/Fish/SA that are Plans for Geocide masquerading as climate change solutions. They concentrate on the 5% of the required solution that will create a Windfall for the few and reject the 95% of the solution that requires motivation and hardship.

    We’re headed straight for the situation that would require the types of extreme measures you have proposed. What makes you believe the motivation will exist to pursue even those measures?

  14. 314
    DIOGENES says:

    #302,

    “In nearly 25 years engaging in a variety of discussions in various Internet forums,”

    Right; 25 years of posting the type of misinformation and disinformation we see posted here, proposing actions that are a Plan for Geocide masquerading as climate change solutions.

    I’m not impressed!

  15. 315
    Walter Pearce says:

    Secular Animist @ 302: Yes.

  16. 316
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #294,

    “by all means keep the doom-beat going”

    Actually, I’m the anti-doom person. I have proposed the only plan (#63) on the climate blogs that offers any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse. That offers hope, not doom!

    The doomers are posters like you/Fish/SA, who call for actions that will address 5% of what’s needed to avoid disaster, while stridently rejecting actions that will provide 95% of what’s needed to avoid disaster (#283). That’s a sure-fire Plan for Geocide masquerading as a climate change solution.

  17. 317
    Hank Roberts says:

    “If everybody would only ‘X’” is always a great plan.

    The IEWOX approach guarantees success,
    if everybody would only do what they’re told.

  18. 318
    Asnadi Jamil says:

    About to see agavin on TED live. Just wanted to say hello.

  19. 319
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Radge Havers — 17 Mar 2014 @ 9:33 AM, ~#298

    Thanks for the Unified Theory of the Crank link.

    Steve

  20. 320
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #312,

    ” Oh, really? Then it must have been some mysterious trans-dimensional entity who typed:”

    I notice your last few posts have followed the SA/Fish diversion approach: anything to avoid addressing the points I made in #283, showing that you/Fish/SA trumpet the actions that will provide 5% of the emissions reductions required to avoid the climate Apocalypse while stridently rejecting the other 95% that will give any chance for survival. Maybe your musical background helps with the fancy footwork, backpedaling, and tap dancing that your team uses to avoid addressing the key deficiency of your proposals. That doesn’t work with me. The 95% is not a nice-to-have; it is a must-have. How do you propose to accomplish these major early-stage required emissions reductions? The SA-Ceres plan does the 5%; where will you get the remaining 95%?

  21. 321

    Diogenes. #313, 4 degrees C I think is the autopilot limit – that’s my definition of apocalypse, when things go on autopilot. When people realise this is going to happen, we will still be a few decades before it actually goes on autopilot. That’s when the will will be there to do things (survival will be the motivating drive). By that time, it will be too late to reverse things, but there will be enough time to build structures one could potentially survive in and continue life that way. What else can be done?

    Also, the will required to do what I’ve suggested requires as a minimum a single government to execute it.

  22. 322
    MartinJB says:

    DIOGENES,

    you never provide any evidence for this 5%/95% split you keep harping on. Is it a product of your imagination? Did you do some careful analysis of the potential for renewables and efficiency to reduce carbon production in the future? Did you read it somewhere?
    You gotta give us a clue if you want anyone to address your point or really to take you seriously at all. No-one here is likely to take your word for it. You haven’t developed the credibility on this board (which has pretty high standards) to warrant that.

  23. 323
    DIOGENES says:

    Ram #321,

    I agree that 4 C looks pretty likely from today’s vantage point. We may have some lead time to look for a way out before the curtain comes down; we may not. I don’t see Space for long-term survival in the time frames we are discussing; too many resource and hazard issues. Domed cities; possibly. Remember, once the planet becomes unlivable, it is projected to stay that way for millenia. Venturing out of these cities might have to be similar to the way astronauts venture out of the Space Station. Also, when things get really bad, how will one keep the hoi polloi out of these cities. It could get ugly.

    I’m still having problems wrapping my mind around this problem. I’m just finding it hard to believe that the citizenry is not willing to tighten their belts today to stave off this catastrophe. We need to find some way to get this point across; unfortunately, I haven’t seen a convincing approach yet.

  24. 324
    Chris Dudley says:

    I’d urge people who are interested in the cost of various mitigation scenarios, carbon capture an sequestration, going nuclear, utility scale renewables with transmission, or more local scale resilient renewables to read “Reinventing Fire” by Amory Lovins. http://www.rmi.org/reinventingfire

    For the US market, all the work has been done. No need to speculate on affordability.

  25. 325
    wili says:

    “Climatologists offer explanation for widening of Earth’s tropical belt”

    “Climatologists posit that the recent widening of the tropical belt is primarily caused by multi-decadal sea surface temperature variability in the Pacific Ocean. This variability includes the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (a long-lived El Niño-like pattern of Pacific climate variability) and anthropogenic pollutants, which act to modify the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Until now there was no clear explanation for what is driving the widening.

    Recent studies have shown that Earth’s tropical belt — demarcated, roughly, by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn — has progressively expanded since at least the late 1970s. Several explanations for this widening have been proposed, such as radiative forcing due to greenhouse gas increase and stratospheric ozone depletion.

    Now, a team of climatologists, led by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, posits that the recent widening of the tropical belt is primarily caused by multi-decadal sea surface temperature variability in the Pacific Ocean. This variability includes the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a long-lived El Niño-like pattern of Pacific climate variability that works like a switch every 30 years or so between two different circulation patterns in the North Pacific Ocean. It also includes, the researchers say, anthropogenic pollutants, which act to modify the PDO.

    Study results appear March 16 in Nature Geoscience.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318113829.htm

    obert J. Allen, Joel R. Norris, Mahesh Kovilakam. Influence of anthropogenic aerosols and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on tropical belt width. Nature Geoscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2091

  26. 326

    Diogenes, I’ll make the same sort of argument you make, which is that if 4 C looks likely, then what other option is there? This is really the only reason I responded to you, to point out the real lack of will that exists to even take smaller steps (not by people here, but the general public); I’m in agreement with you about where we’re headed and I don’t see any other option, not because your plan isn’t going to get us there, but that the will isn’t there even to execute a fifth of your plan (let alone the required 90% or so).

    believe humans are capable of anything IF they can agree to doing it. The problem is with the agreement, and how many people need to agree to effect a solution. To reduce carbon emissions on a superlarge scale, we’re talking about huge portions of the populace (billions of people) needing to agree. It’s not enough for people here in RC to agree with you; you’d need millions of people who’re in the opposite camp to agree (perhaps billions).

    I still have hope, however little it may be, that humans will get around and solve the 4 C problem before it occurs. But every day that passes by with business as usual makes it less and less likely. I think the gradual reduction people (the 5% crowd, if you want to call them that) have a point also. Maybe we should start with something small before something big can be done, because if we can’t do the small things, how can we do the big things? But I also think you have a point that the small things will never be enough, but I don’t believe that’s why people propose 5% solutions, thinking it will be enough. I think they see it as a first step and so it may make sense to view any solution that you know is not going to be enough as a first step. I think if this problem is to be solved, the person who is able to convince others of their first step is the one who’s going to get the second step, and so on. There’ve many first steps that’ve been tried with mixes success but we’re really still at the first step stage given the vast number of people who don’t believe in even taking this step.

    I think first coming to an agreement that some limit, such as 4 C, or lower if that’s desireable (and express it as ppm CO2 and Gt C), is the absolute limit we can have BEFORE there’s uncontrollable warming which will lead to the extinction of humanity if nothing else is done. By this I mean we’re headed towards another Venus. I think 4 C is that limit and you’re right, the planet won’t be liveable. So then one can focus their energies on living their lives knowing that they themselves may not have to live through such a scenario depending on their age (i.e., I don’t think we’ll get to 4 C before 2050, and that would put me at the average American lifespan), and/or one could focus their energies on making sure their children and grandchildren would be okay, and/or one could worry about humanity’s extinction in the abstract, and/or taking a first step towards solving this problem, and/or taking all the steps necessary (as you seem to be advocating). These are not exclusive desires and like I said, it takes all kinds.

    We’re not at a stage where the 4 C limit is certain yet, but it will be in another couple of decades. At that point, the only option left will be the biosphere one. I think it will take some serious culling of humanity before action is taken.

  27. 327
    Tony Weddle says:

    As I understand it, anything above 1.1C is highly unlikely to be stable. So 2C (or 1.99C) would not give us a stable climate, nor would 4C. This should be scary. If any temperature above 1.1C is not stable, is 2C better than 3C, 3C better than 4C? I guess the climate, above 1.1C, will eventually become stable and, presumably, at a lower temperature, the lower we can manage to keep the transient response?

  28. 328
    Tony Weddle says:

    Interesting article by Mike Mann in Scientific American.

  29. 329
    wili says:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/climate-sensitivity/?&WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20140317

    “A recent study suggests that other greenhouse gases may be the key to answering this question. Specifically soot-like air pollution and ozone. Taking into account the unique characteristics of this localized air pollution suggests that the climate is “very unlikely” to be insensitive. The research appears in the journal Nature Climate Change. [Drew T. Shindell, Inhomogeneous forcing and transient climate sensitivity]

    That means climate change with an increase of more than a degree Celsius compared with the last century is very likely already. It’s going to take cutting out most further greenhouse gas pollution to restrain further global warming.”

  30. 330

    “They concentrate on the 5% of the required solution that will create a Windfall for the few and reject the 95% of the solution that requires motivation and hardship.”

    Nope. Wrong on multiple counts. First, as has been pointed out, your quantification is completely unsupported. Second, no-one is rejecting any further actions such as your ‘sacrifice.’ I’ve argued rather for accelerated action on renewables because that is something that might actually have a chance of happening–and indeed, is happening to a surprising (if not yet sufficient) degree already.

    It’s remarkable that you keep insisting on a ‘plan’ that you yourself admit ‘can’t be sold,’ even going so far as to describe it as the only one “that offers any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse.”

  31. 331
    DIOGENES says:

    Ram #326,

    “I think the gradual reduction people (the 5% crowd, if you want to call them that) have a point also. Maybe we should start with something small before something big can be done, because if we can’t do the small things, how can we do the big things?”

    Usually, that’s a reasonable policy; that’s how much of science and engineering work. Start on a small scale; if it works, scale up gradually. That probably would have been a good approach with the climate forty years ago. But, due to decades of neglect, we no longer have that luxury. What we do in the next few years is crucial. We need to drastically limit the CO2 ‘blankets’ we place in the atmosphere NOW, and the 5% approaches won’t do it in time. That’s the essence of Kevin Anderson’s analyses.

    Remember, if we are out of carbon budget based on a 90% chance of staying below 2 C, or a much lower chance of approaching 1 C, then ANY CO2 emissions from now on reduce our chances of missing these targets. Allowing the 95% to go unchecked for even a modest period gives the ‘green flag’ to accelerate into the Apocalypse.

  32. 332
    DIOGENES says:

    #302,

    “In nearly 25 years engaging in a variety of discussions in various Internet forums, I have rarely if ever encountered such blatant, boorish, belligerent…..”

    You forgot to complete the sentence: …..who showed in detail that the two proxy plans posted by SA, the Spross-quoted plan [1] and the Ceres Clean Trillion plan [2], offered about a 1% reduction in emissions annually for decades, more than an order of magnitude less than that required to avoid the climate Apocalypse!

    [1] If You See Something, Say Something thread #396
    [2] Present thread #207

  33. 333
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #330,

    “no-one is rejecting any further actions such as your ‘sacrifice.’”

    Au contraire. The SA/Fish/McKinney triumvirate has stated on many occasions that reduction in fossil energy use over and above that resulting from introducing low-carbon and energy efficient technologies is not necessary. These additional reductions in the near-term are the core of any responsible plan to avoid the climate Apocalypse, and the additional reductions will result in severe economic penalties.

    “I’ve argued rather for accelerated action on renewables because that is something that might actually have a chance of happening–and indeed, is happening to a surprising (if not yet sufficient) degree already.”

    Accelerated action on renewables is part of the lifestyle maintenance component of my plan, and a key part of the Ceres Clean Trillion plan. As I have shown in detail, the Ceres Clean Trillion plan results in average non-compounded annual emissions reductions of about 1.5% per year for decades. This is more than an order of magnitude less emissions reductions than that required to avoid the climate Apocalypse.

    “It’s remarkable that you keep insisting on a ‘plan’ that you yourself admit ‘can’t be sold,’ even going so far as to describe it as the only one “that offers any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse.””

    It’s not remarkable at all; it’s a statement of the truth. Show me another self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that offers any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse; mine is it!

  34. 334
    Dave Peters says:

    Chris (# 324)
    I often curse my own closed mind. On sundry comment threads, I admit this, and tell minimalists /deniers: “My fiancée’s Dad skippered the first n-sub under the cap in the fifties, and described to me what it was like to carefully crawl under it looking for that rarest spot to safely surface, in a long-into-the-night reminiscence in the mid-seventies. So, first put that 2/3rds of the ice mass since melted off the North Pole back, and then I’ll be all ears to your climate musings.”

    I appreciate that this site is dedicated foremost to knowns and unknowns of climate. And that said purpose can be subverted by fisticuffs over best means of mitigation. But I would ask that you consider how some of us receive admonitions to listen to RMI. Amory is a gifted soul who in my eyes wielded influence in the extreme. His famous article and subsequent book were written before the discovery of global warming, and when we had no clue how the Pleistocene worked. Before even, Ramanathan had collapsed the time horizon. It was concerned with efficiency and the aesthetics of scale—climate, not at all. I attribute near-magical powers to him, like the Pied Piper. More than Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, Mike Nichols, Ralph Nader, or Jackson Browne, I think he wielded a greater leadership than any single other being, to the movement which arrested the construction of the second hundred generating plants in the US, and sent that entire generation of engineers into pre-mature retirement, or to careers sidelined to litigation support.

    I cannot imagine the headache it would give me, were I historically pregnant with such work, when along comes, out of blue, an altogether divergent interest: minimizing combustion exhaust. I hope I would not be so close-minded, as to not issue a conditioned apology (Hey folks, I now caution you that that soft path notion might have downsides, should the climatic dimension justify placing some weight for that concern, upon the balance pan). Absent that, RMI is akin to a red flag before the bull. (Imagine your entire retirement portfolio vanished with Enron, and along comes someone with a hot recommendation for Jeff Skilling’s latest financial advice writings.) Please be sensitive to this.

    Having opened the worm can, one last notion. One does not need skills in applied sciences adequate to grow bananas in the high Rockies, to line dry clothes. For those who care enough about future generation’s climate struggles, this CO2 saving is there for minor inconvenience, as it has been since the Soft Path was first identified forty years ago. Carbonless substitutions centrally made, dry clothes without climatic adversity. Clothes lines are perfectly low hanging, but efficacious in proportion to adoption.

  35. 335
    DIOGENES says:

    Tony Weddle #327,

    “As I understand it, anything above 1.1C is highly unlikely to be stable. So 2C (or 1.99C) would not give us a stable climate, nor would 4C. This should be scary.”

    It should be scary, but there are some to whom a final Windfall is more important than restricting the temperature to a safe level. The statement on 2 C I prefer is from Hansen’s recent Plos One paper, and I have appended it below. The concern is triggering the slow feedbacks; who knows where they will lead? We are better off not trying to answer that question.

    His statement emphasizes the danger and foolhardiness of aiming for a 2 C target. Yet, we continually see proposals on this blog that will result in achieving at least 2 C targets. The Ceres Clean Trillion plan, based on the IEA 2DC scenario, aims for an 80% chance of staying under 2 C, which means a modest chance of even exceeding it. And, major carbon feedbacks are not included, so these targets are underestimated, perhaps substantially so.

    Tony, your concerns are right on target, and we should not be aiming for 4 C, or 3 C, or 2 C, but we should be pulling out all the stops and enduring all the deprivations and hardships necessary to come as close to 1 C as we can. My plan (#63) is the only one on the climate blogs that offers any chance to come close to 1 C, but it is not for the faint of heart!

    HANSEN’S STATEMENT FROM PLOS ONE
    “However, distinctions between pathways aimed at ~1°C and 2°C warming are much greater and more fundamental than the numbers 1°C and 2°C themselves might suggest. These fundamental distinctions make scenarios with 2°C or more global warming far more dangerous; so dangerous, we suggest, that aiming for the 2°C pathway would be foolhardy.

    First, most climate simulations, including ours above and those of IPCC [1], do not include slow feedbacks such as reduction of ice sheet size with global warming or release of greenhouse gases from thawing tundra. These exclusions are reasonable for a ~1°C scenario, because global temperature barely rises out of the Holocene range and then begins to subside. In contrast, global warming of 2°C or more is likely to bring slow feedbacks into play. Indeed, it is slow feedbacks that cause long-term climate sensitivity to be high in the empirical paleoclimate record [51]–[52]. The lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 in the climate system is so long that it must be assumed that these slow feedbacks will occur if temperature rises well above the Holocene range.”

  36. 336
    DIOGENES says:

    MartinJB #322/Kevin McKinney #330,

    “you never provide any evidence for this 5%/95% split you keep harping on. Is it a product of your imagination?” “First, as has been pointed out, your quantification is completely unsupported.”

    So, we have two more SA/Fish clones making entirely unsupported assertions. I have answered this question multiple times; I will answer it one final time.

    Consider the following X-Y plot. The Y axis ranges from 0-100%, where Y is the fraction of today’s emissions. The X axis ranges from 2014-2050, the time range covered by the Ceres Clean Trillion plan. Now, to show the basis of the 95/5% split, we need two graphs: the graph my plan would give over this time span, and the graph the plans without the severe fossil fuel use restrictions over and above what the low carbon and energy efficient technology introductions would provide.

    My plan uses as its target basis maximum chance of coming near the prior Holocene limit of ~1 C recommended by Hansen, or, as a very second choice backup, very high (>90%) chance of staying within 2 C. The former target is much preferred. In the best case (90% chance of <2 C), we have run out of carbon budget (Raupach, ANU), and in the worst case, we have piled up substantial carbon debt as well. The ideal graph would be a vertical line at very short time, reflecting that we have run out of carbon budget. Since this is not practical, my plan would aim for the steepest curve practically possible starting from time zero. How steep? Anderson suggests 10% emissions reduction per year based on reasonable chance of staying under 2 C, and Steinacher's results including six target parameters suggest doubling that number. So, my plot would have to be at least a 20% reduction per year, preferably more, at the steepest level the population would be willing to support. For purposes of this exercise, assume a reduction of ~20% per year.

    The second graph would reflect the plan that does not include the severe deprivations over and above the technology upgrades. Well, unfortunately, none of the posters who arbitrarily feign urgency in calling for rapid installation of these technologies are willing to take ownership of any plan. So, I'm forced to select a plan for which none of the posters will take responsibility. The Ceres Clean Trillion report/plan was posted by SA, and I analyzed it in some detail in #207. I'll select this as the plan, until one of the technology proposers is willing to take ownership of some better plan. Given that the Ceres Clean Trillion plan is projected to cost $36 TRILLION by 2050, one would expect some climate change amelioration for the money.

    For the Ceres graph, at 2014, Y=100%, and at 2050, Y is about 46% (from the IEA 2DC scenario, on which the Ceres report is based). As I pointed out in my analysis of the SA-posted Ceres report/plan (#207), the non-compounded average annual reduction in emissions under this plan (whose cost is projected to be $36 TRILLION by 2050) is about 1.5% per year. The plan, if implemented, has an 80% chance of staying under 2 C, which means a finite chance of going above 2 C.

    So, in the critical initial stages, on which I have focused, my plan shows emissions reductions at least 20% per year, while the Ceres plan shows reductions at least an order of magnitude less. Given that the bulk of the emissions reductions in my plan can be instituted almost immediately (in theory), while the bulk of emissions reductions at the earliest stages of the Ceres plan will be accompanied by the lag times of technology planning, construction, implementation, and start-up, the ratio is even larger at the earliest stages. This is essentially the graphic counterpart of what Kevin Anderson has been preaching. The introduction of supply side technologies cannot provide the emissions reductions required to avoid the climate Apocalypse; severe personal restrictions on fossil fuel use over and above the emissions reductions provided by the technology substitutions are required. As Anderson, Garrett, and many others conclude, this contraction will result in global economic downturns, with possible global economic collapse. Anderson believes saving our species is worth the tradeoff; those who support plans like Ceres obviously believe otherwise.

  37. 337

    Tony, 327, Kevin Anderson is apparently quoted as saying somewhere that the climate system will become unstable beyond 4 degrees C, i.e., no additional mitigation measures by us will prevent the variance from increasing (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoiding_dangerous_climate_change and the 4 Degrees and Beyond Climate Change Conference). I think the 1.1/2 degrees C variance limit assumes industrial civilisation of some kind still continuing with emissions, but emissions peaking at that point then reducing at some rate.

    Diogenes, #331, as I’ve said, I tend to agree with your assessment and in general I’m that kind of an extreme personality, an all or nothing person. However, the dangers of doing little vs. nothing vs. all isn’t the issue which we agree on. The problem is the political will among people who fundamentally disagree with you. It’s not to test a 5% plan’s ability to solve a problem, but to see its acceptance. It has little to do with the time we have left, which we agree is too little. It has to do with the general acceptance of even a small plan—think of it as a bait and switch plan rather than a gradual reduction plan. :) No matter what, we still indeed have a decade or so to avoid a 4 degrees C world.

    As Kevin Anderson’s 2011 paper illustrates, certain things have to happen by a certain period to reduce/keep the total amount of C in the atmosphere. I asked you what you thought was the max CO2 you think we could get to and how many Gt CO2 we could accumulate before it was > 50% likely that we’ll get to 2 degrees C and 4 degrees C. I think this is where it’s worth starting since this is what we can all agree on. Then we can see which plans do what but like I also said, there’s the bait and switch concept that’s key to salesmanship (I think many sales pitches in the world today are bait and switches).

    But that’s why I posited the biosphere idea. It’s more likely to be doable by a single powerful country than all the world agreeing to cut emissions.

  38. 338
    Hank Roberts says:

    U.N. panel: Reduce greenhouse gases or suffer catastrophic effects

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201403180044
    March 18, 2014

    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

    “Greenhouse gases must be cut 40 to 70 percent within 36 years to prevent cataclysmic environmental changes, according to a U.N. panel’s draft report that urges an immediate shift away from coal-fired power plants.

    The draft report by the Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change details how the international community should reduce greenhouse gas emissions to curb temperature increases, including the promotion of renewable energy sources.

    The IPCC is expected to finalize the draft at a meeting scheduled for April in Germany….”

    Wait and read what it actually says before commenting?
    Yes, good idea.

  39. 339
    Thomas says:

    I thought I would share this from Cleantechnica. It discusses the likely energy policy of India’s next prime minister.
    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/19/narendra-modi-big-fan-solar-coal/
    Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party who is currently leading in the polls in the lead-up to the general election in May, is in fact a big fan of solar – and pioneered the first incentives for large-scale solar power in 2009.

    As Bloomberg writes in this profile piece, if Modi wins the election: “One thing is clear: he’s signaling a clean energy revolution to end blackouts and revive economic growth.”

    Some observers suggest Modi will effectively abandon most new coal projects and turn instead to solar, potentially increasing the government’s already ambitious solar target 10-fold. Vineet Mittal, managing director of Welspun Energy, a major Indian power producer and solar developer, told Bloomberg. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out with a 200,000-megawatt target by 2025.”

  40. 340
    patrick says:

    Why models of climate change matter: Gavin Schmidt at TED2014, TED Blog:

    http://blog.ted.com/2014/03/18/why-models-of-climate-change-matter-gavin-schmidt-at-ted2014/

    “What is the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” (Frank Sherwood Rowland, Nobel laureate in chemistry 1995)

    Models are necessary because “observations of the future are not available at this time.” (Thomas Knutson and Robert Tuleya)

    “A model result is skillful if it gives better predictions than a simpler alternative.” (slide, photo)

  41. 341
    flxible says:

    Ram Samudrala – The Biosphere idea hasn’t worked too well so far, do we have the time and resources to re-create a functioning “biosphere 1″ for millions [or even thousands] of humans? I don’t think so.

  42. 342
    doug says:

    A very big problem here in the U.S. for trying to get effective climate policy is that people who are very smart in other areas of their lives, when it comes to voting, go brain dead.

    The ONLY criteria a person should have when trying to select a candidate, is that the candidate will fight for the policies that person believes in. Period. End of story. But that does not happen here.

    What are the criteria that 99% of the populace base their vote on? Here are several, but certainly not all of them. 1. People are fearful to vote for a third party, because it’s safer to identify with a large social group, so they limit themselves to Republicans or Democrats 2. Because they want to side with a “winner”. 3. Because their families have always voted Democratic (or Republican) 4. Because so and so candidate is good looking. 5. Name recognition 6. Because it’s time for a “change” (doesn’t matter what the change is) 7. Because they don’t like the kind of people who vote for “the other” party (Democratic or Republican) 8. Because they only see Democrats and Republicans on T.V. 9. Because advertising and money convinces them one way or the other. 10. Because they are fearful of the “other” party winning if they do not vote for either the Republicans or Democrats.

    These are most of the reasons almost all people vote for candidates, that they themselves do not really believe in. It’s like a big veil of stupid has descended over the United States.

    I think it’s fair to say that at least 30% of the U.S population would agree with the policies of the Green Party, yet almost all of them vote for the Democrats if they bother to vote at all, for one of the reasons listed above. I am sure many of the regulars on this site are no different. People do this, even when they know Green Party candidates are on the ballot and what the Green Party stand for. That is the point, and this is what we are up against when we hope for policies that would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations.

    What does this have to do with climate policy? Everything. The U.S. congress approval rating is at something like 8%, yet people will not elect third parties except in rare circumstances on the very local level.

    Because of the psychology of the typical voter, I do not see sufficient climate policies coming out of our politicians. You can only blame inept politicians so much, when inept people keep putting them in office.

    My point is that we are going to have to work outside of the political process somehow, to avoid the “climate Apocalypse” to borrow a phrase from one of our more frequent commenters. (Just once, he doesn’t have to capitalize apocalypse, and I think we would all be grateful) lol.

    I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do believe in talking with as many people as possible about what you know. Neighbors, co-workers, everybody. It seems when people have the knowledge on climate change, they……wake……up. Then they hopefully will make changes in their own lives, (while still voting for candidates that won’t address the big issues) but at least they are making changes in their own lives.

    But if you expect large scale political transformation, you are barking up the wrong tree, and probably should be putting your efforts elsewhere. People avoid voting for candidates that represent their views, like the plague.

  43. 343
    doug says:

    A very big problem here in the U.S. for trying to get effective climate policy is that people who are very smart in other areas of their lives, when it comes to voting, go brain dead.

    The ONLY criteria a person should have when trying to select a candidate, is that the candidate will fight for the policies that person believes in. Period. End of story. But that does not happen here.

    What are the criteria that 99% of the populace base their vote on? Here are several, but certainly not all of them. 1. People are fearful to vote for a third party, because it’s safer to identify with a large social group, so they limit themselves to Republicans or Democrats 2. Because they want to side with a “winner”. 3. Because their families have always voted Democratic (or Republican) 4. Because so and so candidate is good looking. 5. Name recognition 6. Because it’s time for a “change” (doesn’t matter what the change is) 7. Because they don’t like the kind of people who vote for “the other” party (Democratic or Republican) 8. Because they only see Democrats and Republicans on T.V. 9. Because advertising and money convinces them one way or the other. 10. Because they are fearful of the “other” party winning if they do not vote for either the Republicans or Democrats.

    These are most of the reasons almost all people vote for candidates, that they themselves do not really believe in. It’s like a big veil of stupid has descended over the United States.

    I think it’s fair to say that at least 30% of the U.S population would agree with the policies of the Green Party, yet almost all of them vote for the Democrats if they bother to vote at all, for one of the reasons listed above. I am sure many of the regulars on this site are no different. People do this, even when they know Green Party candidates are on the ballot and what the Green Party stand for. That is the point, and this is what we are up against when we hope for policies that would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations.

    The U.S. congress approval rating is at something like 8%, yet people will not elect third parties, except in rare circumstances and on the very local level.

    Because of the psychology of the typical voter, I do not see sufficient climate policies coming out of our politicians. You can only blame inept politicians so much, when inept people keep putting them in office.

    My point is that we are going to have to work outside of the political process somehow, to avoid the “climate Apocalypse” to borrow a phrase from one of our more frequent commenters. (Just once, he doesn’t have to capitalize apocalypse, and I think we would all be grateful) lol.

    I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do believe in talking with as many people as possible about what you know. Neighbors, co-workers, everybody. It seems when people have the knowledge on climate change, they……wake……up. Then they hopefully will make changes in their own lives, (while still voting for candidates that won’t address the big issues) but at least they are making changes in their own lives.

    But if you expect large scale political transformation, you are barking up the wrong tree, and probably should be putting your efforts elsewhere. People avoid voting for candidates that represent their views, like the plague.

  44. 344
    MalcolmT says:

    “Turbulence incidents at ‘unprecedented’ levels over summer, Australian Transport Safety Bureau says” on ABC news, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-18/turbulence-incidents-levels-unprecedented-atsb-says/5327694.
    Pure coincidence or a consequence of our record-breaking hot weather? My money would be on the latter. Another unanticipated result of climate change?

  45. 345
    Fred Magyar says:

    Thomas @335,

    As Bloomberg writes in this profile piece, if Modi wins the election: “One thing is clear: he’s signaling a clean energy revolution to end blackouts and revive economic growth.”

    While I certainly applaud anyone who promotes a clean energy revolution, I think that anyone who continues to spout the mantra of economic growth to be either a coward, a liar, or a blooming idiot or all of the above!

    The emperor obviously has no clothes and doesn’t want to honestly address the impossibility of continued growth on a finite planet. Not to mention population dynamics… there aren’t enough resources to support 7 let alone 9 or 10 billion inhabitants on this planet in an equitable way.

    Unless the world comes to terms with controling population every other problem including climate change becomes moot!

    Tom Murphy from ‘Do The Math’ blog has a great little video titled ‘Growth Has An Expiration Date’ the math and the basic physics behind it are really simple, it doesn’t take a PhD in advanced mathematics or physics to understand it. One would assume that any university graduate, even an economist or politician would be able to grasp the concepts.

    When it comes to denial, the climate change denialists can’t hold a candle to the ‘Continued Growth is Impossible’ denialists…

    In the smartness competition it’s a tie score between bacteria and humans!

    “Bacteria grow by doubling. One bacterium divides to become two, the two divide to become 4, the 4 become 8, 16 and so on. Suppose we had bacteria that doubled in number this way every minute. Suppose we put one of these bacteria into an empty bottle at 11:00 in the morning, and then observe that the bottle is full at 12:00 noon. There’s our case of just ordinary steady growth: it has a doubling time of one minute, it’s in the finite environment of one bottle.

    I want to ask you three questions. Number one: at what time was the bottle half full? Well, would you believe 11:59, one minute before 12:00? Because they double in number every minute.

    And the second question: if you were an average bacterium in that bottle, at what time would you first realise you were running of space? Well, let’s just look at the last minutes in the bottle. At 12:00 noon, it’s full; one minute before, it’s half full; 2 minutes before, it’s a quarter full; then an 1?8th; then a 1?16th. Let me ask you, at 5 minutes before 12:00, when the bottle is only 3% full and is 97% open space just yearning for development, how many of you would realise there’s a problem?”

    From: Dr. Albert Bartlett: Arithmetic, Population and Energy (transcript)

    Houston, “we have a problem” Humans are ‘BLOOMING’ idiots. (pun intended)

  46. 346
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #330,

    “no-one is rejecting any further actions such as your ‘sacrifice.’”

    Au contraire. SA/Fish/McKinney have stated on many occasions that reduction in fossil energy use over and above that resulting from introducing low-carbon and energy efficient technologies is not necessary. These additional reductions in the near-term are the core of any responsible plan to avoid the climate Apocalypse, and the additional reductions will result in severe economic penalties.

    “I’ve argued rather for accelerated action on renewables because that is something that might actually have a chance of happening–and indeed, is happening to a surprising (if not yet sufficient) degree already.”

    Accelerated action on renewables is part of the lifestyle maintenance component of my plan, and a key part of the Ceres Clean Trillion plan. As I have shown in detail, the Ceres Clean Trillion plan results in average non-compounded annual emissions reductions of about 1.5% per year for decades. This is more than an order of magnitude less emissions reductions than that required to avoid the climate Apocalypse.

    “It’s remarkable that you keep insisting on a ‘plan’ that you yourself admit ‘can’t be sold,’ even going so far as to describe it as the only one “that offers any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse.””

    It’s not remarkable at all; it’s a statement of the truth. Show me another self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that offers any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse; mine is it!

  47. 347
    DIOGENES says:

    Tony Weddle #327,

    “As I understand it, anything above 1.1C is highly unlikely to be stable. So 2C (or 1.99C) would not give us a stable climate, nor would 4C. This should be scary.”

    It should be scary, but there are some to whom a final Windfall is more important than restricting the temperature to a safe level. The statement on 2 C I prefer is from Hansen’s recent Plos One paper, and I have appended it below. The concern is temperatures in the range of 2 C triggering the slow feedbacks; who knows where they will lead? We are better off not trying to answer that question.

    His statement emphasizes the danger and foolhardiness of aiming for a 2 C target. Yet, we continually see proposals on this blog that will result in achieving at least 2 C targets. The Ceres Clean Trillion plan, based on the IEA 2DC scenario, aims for an 80% chance of staying under 2 C, which means a modest chance of even exceeding it. And, major carbon feedbacks are not included, so these targets are underestimated, perhaps substantially so.

    Tony, your concerns are right on target, and we should not be aiming for 4 C, or 3 C, or 2 C, but we should be pulling out all the stops and enduring all the deprivations and hardships necessary to come as close to 1 C as we can. My plan (#63) is the only one on the climate blogs that offers any chance to come close to 1 C, but it is not for the faint of heart!

    HANSEN’S STATEMENT FROM PLOS ONE
    “However, distinctions between pathways aimed at ~1°C and 2°C warming are much greater and more fundamental than the numbers 1°C and 2°C themselves might suggest. These fundamental distinctions make scenarios with 2°C or more global warming far more dangerous; so dangerous, we suggest, that aiming for the 2°C pathway would be foolhardy.

    First, most climate simulations, including ours above and those of IPCC [1], do not include slow feedbacks such as reduction of ice sheet size with global warming or release of greenhouse gases from thawing tundra. These exclusions are reasonable for a ~1°C scenario, because global temperature barely rises out of the Holocene range and then begins to subside. In contrast, global warming of 2°C or more is likely to bring slow feedbacks into play. Indeed, it is slow feedbacks that cause long-term climate sensitivity to be high in the empirical paleoclimate record [51]–[52]. The lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 in the climate system is so long that it must be assumed that these slow feedbacks will occur if temperature rises well above the Holocene range.”

  48. 348
    DIOGENES says:

    MartinJB #322/Kevin McKinney #330,

    “you never provide any evidence for this 5%/95% split you keep harping on. Is it a product of your imagination?” “First, as has been pointed out, your quantification is completely unsupported.”

    I have answered this question multiple times; I will answer it one final time.

    Consider the following X-Y plot. The Y axis ranges from 0-100%, where Y is the fraction of today’s emissions. The X axis ranges from 2014-2050, the time range covered by the Ceres Clean Trillion plan. Now, to show the basis of the 95/5% split, we need two graphs: the graph my plan would give over this time span, and the graph the plans without the severe fossil fuel use restrictions over and above what the low carbon and energy efficient technology introductions would provide.

    My plan uses as its target basis maximum chance of coming near the prior Holocene limit of ~1 C recommended by Hansen, or, as a very second choice backup, very high (>90%) chance of staying within 2 C. The former target is much preferred. In the best case (90% chance of <2 C), we have run out of carbon budget (Raupach, ANU), and in the worst case, we have piled up substantial carbon debt as well. The ideal graph would be a vertical line at very short time, reflecting that we have run out of carbon budget. Since this is not practical, my plan would aim for the steepest curve practically possible starting from time zero. How steep? Anderson suggests 10% emissions reduction per year based on reasonable chance of staying under 2 C, and Steinacher's results including six target parameters suggest doubling that number. So, my plot would have to be at least a 20% reduction per year, preferably more, at the steepest level the population would be willing to support. For purposes of this exercise, assume a reduction of ~20% per year.

    The second graph would reflect the plan that does not include the severe deprivations over and above the technology upgrades. Well, unfortunately, none of the posters who arbitrarily feign urgency in calling for rapid installation of these technologies are willing to take ownership of any plan. So, I'm forced to select a plan for which none of the posters will take responsibility. The Ceres Clean Trillion report/plan was posted by SA, and I analyzed it in some detail in #207. I'll select this as the plan, until one of the technology proposers is willing to take ownership of some better plan. Given that the Ceres Clean Trillion plan is projected to cost $36 TRILLION by 2050, one would expect some climate change amelioration for the money.

    For the Ceres graph, at 2014, Y=100%, and at 2050, Y is about 46% (from the IEA 2DC scenario, on which the Ceres report is based). As I pointed out in my analysis of the SA-posted Ceres report/plan (#207), the non-compounded average annual reduction in emissions under this plan (whose cost is projected to be $36 TRILLION by 2050) is about 1.5% per year. The plan, if implemented, has an 80% chance of staying under 2 C, which means a finite chance of going above 2 C.

    So, in the critical initial stages, on which I have focused, my plan shows emissions reductions at least 20% per year, while the Ceres plan shows reductions at least an order of magnitude less. Given that the bulk of the emissions reductions in my plan can be instituted almost immediately (in theory), while the bulk of emissions reductions at the earliest stages of the Ceres plan will be accompanied by the lag times of technology planning, construction, implementation, and start-up, the ratio is even larger at the earliest stages. This is essentially the graphic counterpart of what Kevin Anderson has been preaching. The introduction of supply side technologies cannot provide the emissions reductions required to avoid the climate Apocalypse; severe personal restrictions on fossil fuel use over and above the emissions reductions provided by the technology substitutions are required. As Anderson, Garrett, and many others conclude, this contraction will result in global economic downturns, with possible global economic collapse. Anderson believes saving our species is worth the tradeoff; those who support plans like Ceres obviously believe otherwise.

    One final note. The area under the curves represents total emissions between now and 2050. Since we are out of carbon budget if we want to avoid the climate Apocalypse, the ideal total emissions target is zero; since that is not possible practically, the goal should be to get as close to zero as possible. Consider the Ceres Clean Trillion curve. Assume the emissions decrease follows a straight line. Then, since the line ranges from 100% of today's emissions to ~50% of today's emissions in 2050, it can be approximated by a horizontal line at about 3/4 of today's emissions over the full 36 year range. The area under this curve is equivalent to 27 years of emissions at today's level! So, we need zero emissions from here on out if we are to have any chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse, and this $36 TRILLION dollar plan will give us the equivalent of 27 more years of today's emissions. This is a ticket to geocide!

  49. 349
    DIOGENES says:

    Ram #333,

    “It’s not to test a 5% plan’s ability to solve a problem, but to see its acceptance. It has little to do with the time we have left, which we agree is too little. It has to do with the general acceptance of even a small plan—think of it as a bait and switch plan rather than a gradual reduction plan. :)”

    I’ve considered the ‘Trojan Horse’ approach. I don’t think it’s a good idea. Getting the 5% solution accepted means selling the public on the fallacious idea that merely switching technologies and adding energy efficiency will stave off the impending Apocalypse. Once they accept that philosophy, and the lack of need for personal deprivation and hardship, the hard sell for the severe reductions required will be even harder.

    I’m a firm believer in telling the truth, painful though it may be to hear. That should be obvious from my posts on this blog, and the resultant squeals of pain from the readers when confronting the truth. That’s the only possible way the larger public can be motivated to make the sacrifices necessary to head off the disaster. The 5% as a total solution is a lie, and the public will see through it. The 5% approach will never motivate the public to change their habits, and that’s what’s required if we are to have any chance of surviving.

  50. 350
    DIOGENES says:

    Ram #333,

    “But that’s why I posited the biosphere idea. It’s more likely to be doable by a single powerful country than all the world agreeing to cut emissions.”

    OK; assume the solution is a domed city. If we knew ~thirty years ahead of time that extinction was our fate as a species, how many of these could be built, how many people could they support for generations, and what fraction would that be of the ~seven billion (or more by then) who would perish?


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