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Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report

Filed under: — stefan @ 17 April 2014

Brigitte Knopf_441B9424_Sep2012_web

 

 

 

Guest post by Brigitte Knopf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global emissions continue to rise further and this is in the first place due to economic growth and to a lesser extent to population growth. To achieve climate protection, fossil power generation without CCS has to be phased out almost entirely by the end of the century. The mitigation of climate change constitutes a major technological and institutional challenge. But: It does not cost the world to save the planet.

This is how the new report was summarized by Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of Working Group III of the IPCC, whose report was adopted on 12 April 2014 in Berlin after intense debates with governments. The report consists of 16 chapters with more than 2000 pages. It was written by 235 authors from 58 countries and reviewed externally by 900 experts. Most prominent in public is the 33-page Summary for Policymakers (SPM) that was approved by all 193 countries. At a first glance, the above summary does not sound spectacular but more like a truism that we’ve often heard over the years. But this report indeed has something new to offer.

The 2-degree limit

For the first time, a detailed analysis was performed of how the 2-degree limit can be kept, based on over 1200 future projections (scenarios) by a variety of different energy-economy computer models. The analysis is not just about the 2-degree guardrail in the strict sense but evaluates the entire space between 1.5 degrees Celsius, a limit demanded by small island states, and a 4-degree world. The scenarios show a variety of pathways, characterized by different costs, risks and co-benefits. The result is a table with about 60 entries that translates the requirements for limiting global warming to below 2-degrees into concrete numbers for cumulative emissions and emission reductions required by 2050 and 2100. This is accompanied by a detailed table showing the costs for these future pathways.

The IPCC represents the costs as consumption losses as compared to a hypothetical ‘business-as-usual’ case. The table does not only show the median of all scenarios, but also the spread among the models. It turns out that the costs appear to be moderate in the medium-term until 2030 and 2050, but in the long-term towards 2100, a large spread occurs and also high costs of up to 11% consumption losses in 2100 could be faced under specific circumstances. However, translated into reduction of growth rate, these numbers are actually quite low. Ambitious climate protection would cost only 0.06 percentage points of growth each year. This means that instead of a growth rate of about 2% per year, we would see a growth rate of 1.94% per year. Thus economic growth would merely continue at a slightly slower pace. However, and this is also said in the report, the distributional effects of climate policy between different countries can be very large. There will be countries that would have to bear much higher costs because they cannot use or sell any more of their coal and oil resources or have only limited potential to switch to renewable energy.

The technological challenge

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

The results show that economically and technically it would still be possible to remain below the level of 2-degrees temperature increase, but it will require rapid and global action and some technologies would be key:

Many models could not achieve atmospheric concentration levels of about 450 ppm CO2eq by 2100, if additional mitigation is considerably delayed or under limited availability of key technologies, such as bioenergy, CCS, and their combination (BECCS).

Probably not everyone likes to hear that CCS is a very important technology for keeping to the 2-degree limit and the report itself cautions that CCS and BECCS are not yet available at a large scale and also involve some risks. But it is important to emphasize that the technological challenges are similar for less ambitious temperature limits.

The institutional challenge

Of course, climate change is not just a technological issue but is described in the report as a major institutional challenge:

Substantial reductions in emissions would require large changes in investment patterns

Over the next two decades, these investment patterns would have to change towards low-carbon technologies and higher energy efficiency improvements (see Figure 1). In addition, there is a need for dedicated policies to reduce emissions, such as the establishment of emissions trading systems, as already existent in Europe and in a handful of other countries.

Since AR4, there has been an increased focus on policies designed to integrate multiple objectives, increase co‐benefits and reduce adverse side‐effects.

The growing number of national and sub-national policies, such as at the level of cities, means that in 2012, 67% of global GHG emissions were subject to national legislation or strategies compared to  only 45% in 2007. Nevertheless, and that is clearly stated in the SPM, there is no trend reversal of emissions within sight – instead a global increase of emissions is observed.

IPCC_WG3_SPM_Figure_9

Figure 1: Change in annual investment flows from the average baseline level over the next two decades (2010 to 2029) for mitigation scenarios that stabilize concentrations within the range of approximately 430–530 ppm CO2eq by 2100. Source: SPM, Figure SPM.9

 

Trends in emissions

A particularly interesting analysis, showing from which countries these emissions originate, was removed from the SPM due to the intervention of some governments, as it shows a regional breakdown of emissions that was not in the interest of every country (see media coverage here or here). These figures are still available in the underlying chapters and the Technical Summary (TS), as the government representatives may not intervene here and science can speak freely and unvarnished. One of these figures shows very clearly that in the last 10 years emissions in countries of upper middle income – including, for example, China and Brazil – have increased while emissions in high-income countries – including Germany – stagnate, see Figure 2. As income is the main driver of emissions in addition to the population growth, the regional emissions growth can only be understood by taking into account the development of the income of countries.

Historically, before 1970, emissions have mainly been emitted by industrialized countries. But with the regional shift of economic growth now emissions have shifted to countries with upper middle income, see Figure 2, while the industrialized countries have stabilized at a high level. The condensed message of Figure 2 does not look promising: all countries seem to follow the path of the industrialized countries, with no “leap-frogging” of fossil-based development directly to a world of renewables and energy efficiency being observed so far.

AR5_figure_TS.4

Figure 2: Trends in GHG emissions by country income groups. Left panel: Total annual anthropogenic GHG emissions from 1970 to 2010 (GtCO2eq/yr). Middle panel: Trends in annual per capita mean and median GHG emissions from 1970 to 2010 (tCO2eq/cap/yr). Right panel: Distribution of annual per capita GHG emissions in 2010 of countries within each income group (tCO2/cap/yr). Source: TS, Figure TS.4

 

But the fact that today’s emissions especially rise in countries like China is only one side of the coin. Part of the growth in CO2 emissions in the low and middle income countries is due to the production of consumption goods that are intended for export to the high-income countries (see Figure 3). Put in plain language: part of the growth of Chinese emissions is due to the fact that the smartphones used in Europe or the US are produced in China.

AR5_figure_TS.5

Figure 3: Total annual CO2 emissions (GtCO2/yr) from fossil fuel combustion for country income groups attributed on the basis of territory (solid line) and final consumption (dotted line). The shaded areas are the net CO2 trade balance (difference) between each of the four country income groups and the rest of the world. Source: TS, Figure TS.5

 

The philosophy of climate change

Besides all the technological details there has been a further innovation in this report, that is the chapter on “Social, economic and ethical concepts and methods“. This chapter could be called the philosophy of climate change. It emphasizes that

Issues of equity, justice, and fairness arise with respect to mitigation and adaptation. […] Many areas of climate policy‐making involve value judgements and ethical considerations.

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

Conclusion

The report contains many more details about renewable energies, sectoral strategies such as in the electricity and transport sector, and co-benefits of avoided climate change, such as improvements of air quality. The aim of Working Group III of the IPCC was, and the Co-Chair emphasized this several times, that scientists are mapmakers that will help policymakers to navigate through this difficult terrain in this highly political issue of climate change. And this without being policy prescriptive about which pathway should be taken or which is the “correct” one. This requirement has been fulfilled and the map is now available. It remains to be seen where the policymakers are heading in the future.

 

The report :

Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change – IPCC Working Group III Contribution to AR5

 

Brigitte Knopf is head of the research group Energy Strategies Europe and Germany at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and one of the authors of the report of the IPCC Working Group III and is on Twitter as @BrigitteKnopf

This article was translated from the German original at RC’s sister blog KlimaLounge.

 

Reaclimate coverage of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report:

Summary of Part 1, Physical Science Basis

Summary of Part 2, Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability

Summary of Part 3, Mitigation

Sea-level rise in the AR5

Attribution of climate change to human causes

Radiative forcing of climate change


178 Responses to “Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report”

  1. 101
    DIOGENES says:

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

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

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

  2. 102
    SecularAnimist says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. 103
    Chris Dudley says:

    Arron (#92),

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

    In summary:

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

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

  4. 104
    Chris Dudley says:

    Arron (#92),

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

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

    In summary:

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

  5. 105
    DIOGENES says:

    #102,

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

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

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

  6. 106
    Mal Adapted says:

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

  7. 107
    Chris Dudley says:

    DIOGENES (#104),

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

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

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

  8. 108
    David B. Benson says:

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

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

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

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

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

  9. 109
    DIOGENES says:

    Mal Adapted #105,

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

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

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

  10. 110
    Chris Dudley says:

    DIOGENES (#107),

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

  11. 111
    Edward Greisch says:

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

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

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

  12. 112
    Chris Dudley says:

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

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

  13. 113
    wili says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “‘Cinderella’ Technology.”

  14. 114
    Jon Kirwan says:

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

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

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

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

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

  15. 115
    DIOGENES says:

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

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

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

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

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

  16. 116
    Chris Dudley says:

    Chapter 7 has this to so say on open questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  17. 117
    Hank Roberts says:

    The DIO dedicated topic remains open.

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

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

  18. 118
    Ken Lassman says:

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

  19. 119
    Jim Larsen says:

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

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

  20. 120
    SecularAnimist says:

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

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

  21. 121
    Hank Roberts says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  22. 122
    AndyH says:

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

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

  23. 123
    steve Fish says:

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

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

    Steve

  24. 124
    Chris Dudley says:

    Edward (#111),

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

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

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

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

  25. 125
    Wally says:

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

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

  26. 126
    Wally says:

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

  27. 127
    Edward Greisch says:

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

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

    [edit - no attacks on other commenters]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  28. 128
    Edward Greisch says:

    How to choose an energy source:

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

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

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

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

    What is left?

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

  29. 129
    AntonyIndia says:

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

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

  30. 130
    Chris Dudley says:

    Andy (#122),

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  31. 131
    Chris Dudley says:

    Edward (#128),

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

  32. 132
    Chris Dudley says:

    Edward (#127),

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

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

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

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

  33. 133
    Ray Ladbury says:

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

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

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

  34. 134
    Wally says:

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

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

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

  35. 135
    Wally says:

    re 129, 125 & 121,

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

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

  36. 136
    David B. Benson says:

    A certain commenter here is a font of misinformation.

  37. 137
    Edward Greisch says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  38. 138
    Chris Dudley says:

    Edward (#137),

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

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

  39. 139
    Chris Dudley says:

    Edward (#137),

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

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

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

  40. 140
    Edward Greisch says:

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

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

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

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

  41. 141
    Edward Greisch says:

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

  42. 142
    Edward Greisch says:

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

    I have no emotional connection to any source of electricity.

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

  43. 143
    wally says:

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

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

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

  44. 144
    Pete Best says:

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

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

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

  45. 145
    DIOGENES says:

    Ray Ladbury #133,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  46. 146
    DIOGENES says:

    Pete Best #144,

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

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

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

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

  47. 147
    Radge Havers says:

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

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

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

    Holy cow.

  48. 148
    Mal Adapted says:

    Ken Lassman:

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

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

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

  49. 149
    Edward Greisch says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  50. 150
    kleymo says:

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

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

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

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

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


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