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Unforced variations: June 2014

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2014

June is the month when the Arctic Sea Ice outlook gets going, when the EPA releases its rules on power plant CO2 emissions, and when, hopefully, commenters can get back to actually having constructive and respectful conversations about climate science (and not nuclear energy, impending apocalypsi (pl) or how terrible everyone else is). Thanks.

488 Responses to “Unforced variations: June 2014”

  1. 251
    DIOGENES says:


    David Spratt has posted the second of two articles on the remaining carbon budget ( His bottom line conclusions are:

    “As the previous post explained, If a risk-averse (pro-safety) approach is applied – say, of less than 10% probability of exceeding the 2°C target – to carbon budgeting, there is simply no budget available, because it has already been used up. THE NOTION THAT THERE IS STILL “BURNABLE CARBON” IS A MYTH.”

    Since his previous posts on the topic, and his monograph, show that Hansen’s 1 C target is a far more desirable target, we are not only out of burnable carbon budget, but are heavily in carbon debt. ANY proposals/plans that have targets other than maximum reduction of carbon emissions and maximum removal of carbon from the atmosphere should be eliminated from serious discussion.

  2. 252
    Tony Weddle says:

    The graphs you pointed to had the concentration steady after 2150 (roughly). In graph 3 emissions are being “cut” long before then. So, no, that graph doesn’t show that cutting emissions stabilises concentrations, unless the cut is big enough. If the decreases don’t continue (and they didn’t last year), your country will never get to the stage of “helping” stabilise emissions.

    If you want to believe that the cuts up to 2012 were actually a result of wanting to cut the contribution to warming, then that is up to you. But it’s just a belief.

  3. 253
    Davos says:

    So, now that Gavin is the leader of the troops at NASA, and apparently the arbiter of who is acting in “good faith” when it comes to climate policy, why not call out Greenpeace as “bad faith” actors, much the way he did the GWPF..?

    After all, on one hand they decree that massive renewable energy mobilization must be done in order to keep us from crossing the +2°C threshold, but yet they are the ones behind so many campaigns to defeat plans to install those very same energy installations. Whether it be NIMBY local interests, or far-away carpet-bagging, groups like Greenpeace enjoy members having key-roles within the IPCC, while having a clear interest in sidelining all sorts of clean-energy technology.

    Case in point:

    Is all you have to do in order to be declared “acting in good faith” is declare that ‘something big’ must be done to avert climate change– even if in the end you will knowingly reject all sorts of stabilization/wedge ideas outright, or worse, only when close to home?

  4. 254
    Chris Dudley says:

    Tony (#251),

    If you read the text, RCP6 was constructed to stabilize in 2150. The cuts are what achieves stabilization. You can certainly get there quicker by cutting faster and sooner. We’d need China’s participation for that.

    The US goal is an 83% cut in emissions from year 2005 emissions by 2050. That is consistent with the contraction an convergence scheme that would meet the 2 C limit on warming. So, rather obviously, our trajectory contributes to stabilization contrary to your assertion. If we want to get in under 2 C, contraction in other countries will need to get started sooner rather than later. The US has the ability to encourage that using trade policy.

    Obviously cuts between 2005 and 2013 are influenced by falling natural gas prices. They have also been influenced by rising CAFE standards. So a part is on purpose for sure. Now more regulations are coming in to remove the element of chance, regulations adequate to take us to 2030 in our planned trajectory.

    With that in place, we should be using GATT Article XX to encourage our trading partners to cut their emissions as well.

  5. 255
    Chris Dudley says:

    Steve (#243),

    There is no doubt that constant emissions increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But it is not emissions that we want to stabilize but the concentration, which is done by reducing emissions. We don’t have to immediately cease emissions to do that, though we do need to get to very close to zero eventually. If we ceased emissions quickly, the concentration would fall rather than stabilize.

    On EROEI for silicon based solar, it is pretty simple. The bulk of the embodied energy is in the silicon owing to removing the oxygen from the silica and then removal of impurities that interfere with the electrical properties we need. Basically you never need to invest that energy again so in principle the EROEI is about one billion assuming we abandon our solar panels when the Venus Syndrome sets in when the Sun gets too luminous.

    However, cosmic rays induce crystal defects in the silicon so their efficiency reduces with time. To fix that, we need to re-anneal the crystal. That takes much less energy than the initial purification step so over time the EROEI does not increase without limit but rather approaches the ratio of energy collected between re-annealing treatments to the energy needed to re-anneal as a limit.

    But, solar’s EROEI does improve with time, just the opposite of fossil fuels.

  6. 256
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #247,

    This discussion is ending. You will never, ever, discuss specific targets, no matter how many times I ask. Your posts are rather transparent attempts to sell renewables; Greisch has called you and the other renewables salesmen on this, and it is no doubt obvious to the Silent Majority of the readership. Without targets, I won’t discuss solutions.

  7. 257
    DIOGENES says:

    Lawrence Coleman #250,

    “So in answer to my above question, I shudder, but honestly have to agree with you..NO! it seems we currently have neither the will nor the courage.”

    I personally believe the gap between where we are and where we need to go is far too large to overcome. Furthermore, as I stated in #190, I believe numerous people from different communities (climate scientists, politicians, defense and intelligence planners, other government, energy system developers) realize this as well. That’s my view on why the contrived 2 C target was set, and the concept of remaining carbon budget sufficient to provide an umbrella for transition to low carbon and higher efficiency technology was established. This allows the fiction that technology substitution, with its attendant increase in jobs and ‘prosperity’, can provide a major contribution to achieving the target while remaining within budget, and no hardship or sacrifice is required.

    We are somewhere within a century of the demise of our civilization. The energy developers have recognized this only too well, and are going all out to exploit the situation in the time remaining. We have today the equivalent of a ‘Cold War’ between the high carbon fuel suppliers and the low carbon fuel suppliers. Interestingly, this new Cold War started shortly after the end of the previous one, and is accelerating rapidly. Neither of the combatants have any possibility of avoiding the ultimate disaster, and it is reflected by their continual silence on how implementation of their products will contribute to the required targets to avoid disaster. The hard numbers are staring us in the face, and all the simplistic arguments offered by either of the combatants won’t change these numbers one whit!

  8. 258
    Edward Greisch says:

    247 Steve Fish: The answer you ask for but don’t want has been presented to you many times.

    skip stuff [self edit]

    195 Steve Fish: Your question is nonsense. To get an answer, first you have to ask a question that can be answered. To do that, you have to know enough science and math to be in touch with reality. So go to school and get a degree in physics. Then you will be able to ask sensible questions.

  9. 259
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Do you really have no clue how science actually works, or are you just trying to swat the hornet’s nest?

  10. 260
    Climate 4 Revolution says:

    We need Scientists and Activists alike to start being realists…. not optimists, not pessimists. Most of the public still thinks of Global Warming in the 1990′s 2°C framing, and have no idea what kind of catastrophe we are diving headfirst into, and no grasp of the scale of deaths.

    To the optimists here, who are still in delusion that we can avoid 2°C, I offer you Michael Mann’s recent article showing that we hit 2°C by 2036 under BAU.

  11. 261
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Jun 2014 @ 9:26 AM, ~#258

    I have no idea what you are talking about.


  12. 262

    Well done Gavin! Especially and foremost that you will continue to teach here, but hope you’ll have time for exploration. Of which the high position on top usually don’t see the little guys below.

  13. 263
    Hank Roberts says:

    Pay attention to ocean pH change, kids.

    It’s far more urgent than temperature and ppm levels in the atmosphere.

    As usual, we have long known what we should have been doing all along: not destroying the source of the food we eat and the air we breathe.

    Reinventing Fisheries Management
    Fish & Fisheries Series Volume 23, 1998, pp 311-329
    Rebuilding ecosystems, not sustainability, as the proper goal of fishery management
    Tony J. Pitcher, Daniel Pauly

    We propose that rebuilding ecosystems, and not sustainability per se, should be the goal of fishery management. Sustainability is a deceptive goal because human harvesting of fish leads to a progressive simplification of ecosystems in favour of smaller, high-turnover, lower-trophic-level fish species that are adapted to withstand disturbance and habitat degradation. Present fisheries management seems unable to reverse this trend for several reasons. Because of this effect on the ecosystem, sustainable harvests are generally incapable of ever being defined using single species-population dynamics, yet almost all fishery science has been long engaged in trying to do this. Even if our science and management were capable of sustaining exploitation at a defined ecosystem structure, we argue that this is the wrong goal. Aquatic systems are likely capable of producing large harvests of high-production, low-trophic-level species, perhaps much in excess of current global fishery yields of around 100 million tonnes per year, yet such exploitation would shift their structure and nature in a way, and lead to products, that would be unacceptable to many. Primal systems, defined as those existing before humans used large-scale harvesting, are generally characterized by an abundance of large top-predator species. An approach to the primal abundance of such systems may have an increasingly higher economic value than present systems in an era where demand is outstripping supply. Therefore, we argue that management that moves aquatic systems in the direction of their primal states and abundance should be rewarded, and that this rebuilding and restoration of ecosystems should be the overarching goal of the new fisheries management.

    The Once and Future World: Nature as it Was, as it Is, as it Could be

    That pause in CO2 increase during World War II coincides with recovery of the Atlantic fishery because ocean fishing pretty much stopped. Coincidence? It’s been written up but the models don’t seem to look at it.

    Or, alternatively, just kill and eat everything but the diatoms …

  14. 264
    SecularAnimist says:

    Davos, your comments about Greenpeace (currently #253) are nonsense. The article you link to is about a hydropower dam project that would have been massively environmentally destructive.

    There is absolutely no need whatsoever for such environmentally destructive projects in order to replace fossil fuels very quickly, particularly for electricity generation which is what hydropower is used for. The world has vast solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy resources that can be readily harvested without such environmentally destructive projects.

    No organization in the world has more aggressively and outspokenly advocated the rapid growth of environmentally sound renewable energy deployment than Greenpeace.

    The “blame it on the Greens” meme is phony, dishonest and stupid — particularly in the face of the campaign by Koch-funded organizations like ALEC to block the expansion of renewable electricity generation throughout the USA, which is in fact the source of the spurious and nonsensical “blame Greenpeace” propaganda.

  15. 265
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 Jun 2014 @ 8:01 AM, ~#255

    OK, so my whole entry into this conversation was that, in terms of what is happening to our planet, it is the total amount of CO2 (and other emissions) that exceeds absorption by the slow carbon cycle that is important. And, if one wants to assign a moral judgment (your definition of culpable), it seems that those nations that release the most, per capita, are the ones that must get busy first.

    On EROI, why not just say that the ratio of usable acquired energy divided by energy expended on construction is somewhere between 5 and 20 (for example), and is very good. I don’t know how cosmic rays are important at this level of discussion or where 100% comes from.


  16. 266
    DIOGENES says:

    Meow #236,

    “Second, holding concentration steady at 400 ppm is not without bad consequences.”

    Depending on which sources you trust, it could be in fact quite serious. Cory Morningstar, in my post #165, presents some convincing arguments that going much over 300 ppm gets us in trouble, in the long-term and perhaps the relatively short-term as well. Others have addressed a wider spectrum of the ppm range, and I summarize their conclusions below. In particular, I summarize four of the many: 450 ppm; 350 ppm; 300 ppm; 260 ppm. All are fantasies, of course. There is no relationship between our current policies/actions on CO2 emissions, nor any realistically proposed policies and actions, and achievement of targets anywhere near the above four ranges.

    “450 Scenario: A scenario presented in the World Energy Outlook that sets out an energy pathway consistent with the goal of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2°C by limiting concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to around 450 parts per million of CO2……
    -The 2°C Scenario (2DS) is the focus of Energy Technology Perspectives. The 2DS describes an energy system consistent with an emissions trajectory that recent climate science research indicates would give AN 80% CHANCE of limiting average global temperature increase to 2°C. It sets the target of cutting energy-related CO2 emissions by more than half in 2050 (compared with 2009) and ensuring that they continue to fall thereafter. Importantly, the 2DS acknowledges that transforming the energy sector is vital, but not the sole solution: the goal can only be achieved provided that CO2 and GHG emissions in non-energy sectors are also reduced. The 2DS is broadly consistent with the World Energy Outlook 450 Scenario through 2035.”

    As I have pointed out, the 2 C target being promulgated by these official organizations is a contrived target; it has no relation to what the science tells us is required to avoid disaster.

    “350 ppm (Safe): Many leading climate scientists do not have that appetite for risk. A December 2013 report by “James Hansen, Johan Rockström, and 15 other scientists, “Assessing ‘Dangerous Climate Change’: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature,” declares that 2°C of global warming would have disastrous consequences and could cause major dislocations for civilization…..The authors advocate for a TARGET OF 350 PPM AS THE MAXIMUM SAFE CONCENTRATION OF CO2 CONCENTRATION, WHICH WOULD STABILIZE THE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE AT 1°C ABOVE PRE-INDUSTRIAL LEVELS and avoid runaway climate destabilization.”

    “That “350 ppm” is where gets its name. “PPM” stands for “parts per million,” which is simply a way of measuring the ratio of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the other molecules in the atmosphere. Many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments agree with Dr. Hansen that 350 ppm is the “safe” level of carbon dioxide….. Right now we’re at 400 ppm, and we’re adding 2 ppm of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. Unless we are able to rapidly turn that around and return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk triggering tipping points and irreversible impacts that could send climate change spinning truly beyond our control.”
    Yet, the leader of goes on a national Do the Math tour, hyping the 2 C target and 565GtC remaining carbon budget, neither of which will get us in the ballpark of what Hansen recommends. AND, WE WONDER WHY THE CLIMATE ADVOCACY MOVEMENT HAS A HARD TIME FINDING RECRUITS!!! Cory Morningstar, on her excellent blog, discusses the motivations behind McKibben’s efforts in much more detail. You will get a much different, and probably much more accurate picture of McKibben, after reading these articles on her blog.

    “ exists to inform people about the Climate Emergency and the need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentration to a safe and sustainable level of about 300 ppm.

    The fundamental position of is that “There must be a safe and sustainable existence for all peoples and all species on our warming-threatened Planet and this requires a rapid reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to about 300 parts per million”. [1]. urges the World to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (CO2) to about 300 parts per million by volume (ppm). In urging a target of an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 300 ppm, is informed by the advice of top world climate scientists as set out below.

    The name reflects support for the implicit goal of less than 350 ppm CO2 (although, as detailed below, a goal of “350 ppm” is clearly inadequate according to top climate scientists) and the goal of about 300 ppm CO2 of the 2009 Australian Climate Action Summit [12], the Australian Climate Emergency Network [13] and the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group [14].”

    “The four key take home messages of the Target 300 Campaign
    1.The target for a Safe Climate is 300 ppm CO2 or below.
    2.We can reduce our emissions by 50% or more today individually or collectively if we simply choose to.
    3.We have already passed the tipping points for a number of critical climate systems.
    4.We must create a global cooling as soon as possible and we have the solutions to do this.”

    260 PPM:
    T. Goreau, PhD
    Delegation of Jamaica
    Scientific & Technical Briefing To the Association of Small Island States
    United Nations Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18 2009

    The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above todayʼs levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long term climate records, not on models. We have not yet felt the climate change impacts of the current excess of greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels, and the data shows they will in the long run be many times higher than IPCC models project. In order to prevent these long term changes CO2 must be stabilized at levels below preindustrial values, around 260 parts per million. CO2 buildup must be reversed, not allowed to increase or even be stabilized at 350 ppm, which would amount to a DEATH SENTENCE FOR CORAL REEFS, SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES, AND BILLIONS OF PEOPLE LIVING ALONG LOW LYING COASTLINES. The good news is that all the tools for reversing global warming and reducing CO2 to safe levels are ready, proven, and cost effective, but are not being seriously used due to lack of policies and funding.

  17. 267
    Meow says:

    @245: My math is for a return to 280 ppm.

  18. 268
    SecularAnimist says:

    Climate 4 Revolution wrote: “We need Scientists and Activists alike to start being realists”

    Which means what, exactly?

    Other than posting defeatist comments on blogs, of course.

  19. 269
    MAXMARE says:

    I see many people complain about China’s emission. There is a pretty simple solution for that and worked for centuries.
    Use border tariffs to avoid manufacturing in China et all and their emissions pretty much will stop. And this is an action consumer countries need to take.
    China and others have had plenty of time to learn how to run modern industry so they will be able to cope with their own needs.
    Also using slave labor is morally wrong and it should be stopped if only for that reason, but it isn’t.
    That’s like saying you won’t recycle because your neighbour doesn’t. Not that recycling achieves anything meaningful at this point. Reuse, reduce, re-purpose and yes recycle.
    Another taboo conversation nobody want to be part of even in here is the future casualty numbers due know, climate. Even if there is no way to 100% pinpoint deaths due to climate changing it is pretty obvious many people will perish. I guess if you never talked about it, it is not your fault.
    Denial is strong with this one.
    I do feel extremely guilty and I guess others that dare to think about it do too, hence the emphasis DIO tries to put on targets and actions to accomplish them.
    Another point doesn’t get mention much is how reality tends to be faster than the predictions at this point. Could the difference be measured and projected into the future? I do not believe for a second a solution to AGW comes at a 0.06% cost. That’s what I call sugar candy and it makes you fat (in denial).

  20. 270
    Chris Korda says:

    I recently discovered the father of human ecology, the guy who invented the term overshoot, William R. Catton. His classic book “Overshoot” seethes with innovation, but perhaps my favorite is his classification of people as detrivores, meaning animals that eat dead stuff, in our case the dead plants and animals that became fossil fuels. Ever since we discovered oil we’ve been having a wild party, like yeast in a bottle, but now that the cheap good stuff is gone, our “exuberance” (reflexive optimism) increasingly seems like a bad joke. Another point he makes is that the consequences were mostly unexpected. In the 1950s if you went around saying that people shouldn’t build cars and highways and suburbs because burning fossil fuels would change the atmosphere and the weather and cause flooding and a hothouse world, nobody would have believed you. They would have laughed, or given you a lobotomy. It’s easy to blame people for being exuberant, but our optimism was forged during the seventeenth century when the resources of New World were seemingly inexhaustible and our population was relatively small. Catton is still with us, and he makes these points and many others in a recent interview.

  21. 271
    Hank Roberts says:

    Royal Society Meeting Program which tells you the subject of each speaker’s talk.

    To hear them,
    Go to the listing and click on the individual speaker’s name
    to see a link to the audio .mp3 file

  22. 272
    Edward Greisch says:

    261 Steve Fish: Your questions seem to be nonsense.

    195 Steve Fish says: “Won’t countries that already have clean energy sources in place be better off without any fossil energy?”

    NO! Mostly because the question doesn’t make sense. Partly because you seem to be confused about too many things to answer in one sentence. We are not sure what your confusions are.

    I have tried writing longer replies, but I have discarded them.

  23. 273
    Edward Greisch says:

    264 SecularAnimist: Greenpeace: Is known for vandalism, trespassing, getting itself into jail in Russia, and opinions that are nonsense and non-negotiable.

    “environmentally sound renewable energy” is an oxymoron. The only one there is, is hydro, and hydro is maxed out already.

    “The “blame it on the Greens” meme is phony, dishonest and stupid — particularly in the face of the campaign by Koch-funded organizations like ALEC to block the expansion of renewable electricity generation”

    What is wrong with your statement?:
    1. The highly insulting words “phony”, “dishonest” and “stupid.” You would scream to high heaven if anybody else used those words.
    2. The Koch-funded organizations are probably funding the campaigns in favor of renewable electricity generation. Why? Because they know that we will never get off of fossil fuels as long as we keep on trying to use wind and solar power. Because they know that renewable mandates force the closure of their only real competition. Mandates force the use of renewables any time renewables can be used because renewables are so intermittent.
    [edit - enough already]

    Renewable energy is nothing else but a decoration on a fossil fueled power plant.

  24. 274
    Chris Korda says:

    Re 265: “EROI … somewhere between 5 and 20 … very good.”

    The point made by Catton and many others since, is that industrial civilization evolved as a consequence of MUCH higher EROI, in the range of 80:1. Yes, human existence is possible at 20:1, and maybe even at 5:1, but 7 billion people with 1 billion cars, FedEx, and Dubai, not. Not for long anyway. Exuberance dies hard.

    “Large scale industrial societies came into existence through the exploitation of phenomenally large fossil fuel energy sources which were both energy dense and cheap to access. The net energy derived from fossil fuels was very high, with energy return on investment ratios of 80:1 and more. The massive scale of these new resources combined with this high net energy has provided the huge amounts of energy required to drive our modern societies. Without fossil fuels the industrial revolution and the related advances in living standards would likely have stalled at the wind and water power stage of development.”

    Energy & The Financial System, Roger Boyd

    “Despite Malthus’s belief to the contrary it is possible to exceed an environment’s carrying capacity–temporarily. Many species have done it. A species with as long an interval between generations as is characteristic of ours, and with cultural as well as biological appetites, can be expected to do it. Our largest per capita demands upon the world’s resources only begins to be asserted years after we’re born. Resource depletion sufficient to thwart our children’s grown-up aspirations was not far enough advanced when our parents were begetting, gestating and bearing us to deter them from thus adding to the human load.”

    “Overshoot”, William R. Catton, p.138

  25. 275
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Catton … Overshoot

    Good work, previously mentioned at RC 85 times to date.
    It’s often worth using the search function and reading the discussions here in depth. There’s much to be learned.

  26. 276
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    257 DIOGENES: I also believe you are right on the money. Personally I wouldn’t give a rat’s right testicle if humans were the only causality in all of this but to tear apart the intricate web of life on this planet, the interrelationships between millions of lifeforms that have evolved over millions of years is morally and ethically unacceptable. I’ve only just come back from a holiday in bali and I happened to tell our guide who was also the owner/manager of ubud bungalows (free plug) that I am researching climate change and he immediately said that over the last 10-15 years bali has been getting drier and drier (the dry season is now longer than ever) and that has affected yields from rice and other crops. Here in queensland Australia in the last 10 years we have had the wettest summer/hottest years/driest year/hottest autumn/hottest winter/worst drought/most number of sequential hot days/ and highest number of records smashed on record. All in the last 10 years. Not sure about an ecological global collapse within 100 years? My feeling is between 75-200 years. I’m guessing that the wealthy countries will be able to adapt pretty well but as for the developing world it will be an unprecedented catastrophe. Maybe not just from heat but lack of drinking water as most of the glacial fed rivers will have disappeared.

  27. 277
    DIOGENES says:

    MAXMARE #269,

    “I do not believe for a second a solution to AGW comes at a 0.06% cost. That’s what I call sugar candy and it makes you fat (in denial).”

    it’s completely contrived, like the 2 C target on which it is based. As I pointed out in #190, #257, we now have a competition between the high carbon suppliers/developers and the low carbon suppliers/developers for who can exploit climate change the most for their own benefit. The selling points of the low carbon salesmen are the fantasies that 2 C is adequate to protect us against the ultimate disaster, that substitution of low carbon supplies for high carbon supplies and high efficiency systems for low efficiency systems are all that’s needed to achieve these targets, and that no personal sacrifices and hardships are required. All these fantasies can be achieved at some very minimal cost that will impose negligible hardship on the global population. BernieMadoff at his worst never reached such ethical depths!

  28. 278
    Tony Weddle says:


    Yes, stabilisation is estimated to occur IF reductions continue at a certain pace for long enough. Emitting less for 6 years out of 8 (or whatever the figure is) isn’t the same as emitting less for 25 years. You’re right to think that all countries should emit less but wrong in thinking that past emissions are of no concern. The US was increasing emissions for a long time (and is doing so again). Were you calling for taxes on American made goods then? Past misdemeanours need to be taken into account, not just dismissed.

    83% reduction (over 2005 levels, when cuts of that order over 1990 levels are needed) is a goal but it is, by no means, a given and doesn’t yet have a full plan. Even the announced limits on power generators isn’t a given. Let’s see what happens over then next few years before declaring victory for US common sense.

  29. 279
    prokaryotes says:

    Re 263 “ocean pH change”, see also Is Ocean Acidification an Open-Ocean Syndrome? Understanding Anthropogenic Impacts on Seawater pH

  30. 280
    Keith Clarke says:

    Hank (206) –

    Thanks, as always, for the links.

    The BBC have an article on vanadium flow batteries today. No discussion of the economics, or comparisons with other kinds of flow batteries, but interesting on resources and use in localities where roof-top PV is significant. The article doesn’t mention the capacity of the $100000 battery they talk about; I assume it’s the 400kWh one mentioned at So it’s (currently?) the same installation cost as the projected price of the Iron-Chromium battery.

  31. 281
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Edward Greisch,
    Take a chill pill, dude. Maybe think about science rather than energy for a while. Renewables are part of the answer. They’d better be because they are the only energy source that is…well, renewable. And you know better than to accuse any regular on here of being a Koch-roach.

  32. 282
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Jun 2014 @ 11:11 PM, ~#272

    Ed, is this another reading comprehension thing for you? My comment was Re (regarding, with regards to) Diogenes’ insistence that we should stop all use of fossil energy but should not increase non-polluting energy (e.g. nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, wave, whatever) to compensate. His idea proposes a medieval world, but with 7 to 10 billion people to feed. Taking his proposal as a hypothetical I asked him if those countries that already have renewable energy in place, such as Germany, wouldn’t be better off. He can’t deny this but insists that he is correct. What don’t you understand?


  33. 283
    deconvoluter says:

    Royal Society: Good to have the sound, but frustrating not to be able to see anything. Have I missed something? The expressions on the speakers faces are not essential , but the graphs are another matter.
    P.S. Gavin was there.

  34. 284
    SecularAnimist says:

    Edward Greisch, your assertions about renewable energy are, and I say this with all the respect that is due to them, ill-informed nonsense. And the ignorance is pretty clearly willful.

    Which is why I don’t bother responding to them.

    Ray Ladbury wrote to Edward Greisch: “And you know better than to accuse any regular on here of being a Koch-roach.”

    Know better? That’s been a major theme of Mr. Greisch’s rhetoric here forever: that the solar and wind industries are a hoax perpetrated by the fossil fuel industry to prevent the expansion of nuclear power, and any commenter who posts anything favorable about wind or solar, or criticizes nuclear power in any way, is an irrational anti-science zealot AND a paid shill for the coal industry. It’s utter nonsense, and he routinely floods the comment pages with it whenever discussion of renewable energy comes up. It’s gotten to be like the old Three Stooges “Niagara Falls!” routine.

    Between Mr. Greisch and DIOGENES, with his repetitious, boilerplate, nonsensical, belligerent, flame-bait ranting about “salesmen” and “tag teams”, it is clear that some folks are working very hard to make these comment pages a hostile environment for any discussion of the demonstrated ability of renewable energy and efficiency to quickly, drastically and economically reduce GHG emissions from electricity generation.

  35. 285
    Mal Adapted says:

    Edward Greisch:

    2. The Koch-funded organizations are probably funding the campaigns in favor of renewable electricity generation. Why? Because they know that we will never get off of fossil fuels as long as we keep on trying to use wind and solar power. Because they know that renewable mandates force the closure of their only real competition. Mandates force the use of renewables any time renewables can be used because renewables are so intermittent.
    SecularAnimist: How much are the Kochs paying you?

    You apparently haven’t been paying attention, Edward. It’s abundantly documented that the Kochs are funding opposition to policies that promote renewable energy, for example net metering:

    The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a membership group for conservative state lawmakers, recently drafted model legislation that targeted net metering. The group also helped launch efforts by conservative lawmakers in more than half a dozen states to repeal green energy mandates.

    “State governments are starting to wake up,” Christine Harbin Hanson, a spokeswoman for Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, said in an email. The organization has led the effort to overturn the mandate in Kansas, which requires that 20% of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources.

  36. 286
    Climate 4 Revolution says:

    Climate 4 Revolution wrote: “We need Scientists and Activists alike to start being realists”

    SecularAnimist wrote: “Which means what, exactly? Other than posting defeatist comments on blogs, of course.”

    How about not ignoring that most of the public has no idea that Global Warming now means at least 5-6°C under BAU, before even touching the 20+ climate feedbacks published about since IPCC’s 2013 deadline.

    How about not ignoring that a significant % of humans on Earth will perish? How about we discuss % human extinction per 1°C warming, or the fact that current human civilization is unlikely to survive 4°C?

    To make clear, I understand where Scientists are coming from, but we have a planetary crisis here. Do not be fooled, the public is completely oblivious to what is coming their way. Your average human consumer today is drowning in apathy from the myriad of problems beyond his control that he must contend with everyday just to survive. These ppl don’t care about polar bears and environmental problems, and nobody is informing these ppl that Global Warming is much more, is an existential threat. Do you think its useful to sing lullabies to someone who’s life is in danger? At least I am sure, that you personally don’t feel this danger, which gives u emotional cover for your optimism.

    More ppl will die from Global Warming that both our World Wars combined. Why is it alarmist to want to prevent us from carrying out this massacre? Why is it alarmist to want to explain to people that the elites in charge of society don’t mean them well?

  37. 287
    Chris Dudley says:


    Yes you were. I thought we were discussion stabilization targets so I read your 400 ppm. Regarding 280 ppm as a target, it has had some interesting stability properties back into prehistory. But as a target to be sought by cutting emissions it suffers from the problem of a tenacious 40% or so of raised concentration that just does not go away for a very long time. In your terms it is a little more like 0.6/k+0.4.

    280 ppm is my target too, but as the Green Party 10 Key Values point out, sometimes you have to unmake your waste. We’d need to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and probably reduce it to elemental carbon or convert it to carbonate stone to get to 280 ppm.

    But, we make that job more manageable if we get China turned around now rather than maybe possibly in 2030.

  38. 288
    Chris Dudley says:

    Steve (#265),

    If we were just trying to avert an anticipated problem, your measure of per capita emissions as a starting point might make sense. But we stopped doing that two years ago.

    We now know that climate change is already dangerous, not that it could be in the future if we don’t, as you say, get busy. Now, increasing emissions is knowingly and recklessly endangering people. So the measure changes. Those who are cutting emissions are innocent of intentional harm. Those who are increasing emissions are guilty of intentional harm.

    Now, getting busy means throwing our economic weight around to get China to first start cutting emissions and then join us in throwing their weight around too to persuade India and Canada and any others to do the same.

    I don’t know where 100% comes from either. A module energy pay back time for mid Europe of 0.5 years can be expected in 2020.

    So, lets assume reannealing has a payback time of 0.1 years and the reannealing schedule is every 25 years. Then, on first production there is a module EROEI of 50. After reannealing we might say the EROEI has jumped to 250, because we already recovered of the initial energy investment. But, it is fairer, and more fun, to say that in the first 50 years the energy payback time is 0.6 years so EROEI is 83 over all. Over the first 75 years it is 107, over the first 100 year it is 125 etc. converging to 250.

    If the module mounts are new aluminum and they get recycled every century, we see a similar pattern of converging to the recycling energy costs rather than worrying much over the new smelting energy cost.

    It is interesting and fun to note that our fuel based systems have decreasing EROEI with time as fuel extraction becomes more difficult.

  39. 289
    Edward Greisch says:

    283 Climate 4 Revolution: Roger that, but an existential threat is one that can make humans extinct. Deaths from GW is already in the millions. 6 degrees C is the extinction level. Nobody survives 6 degrees C. The world wars are ignorable.

    “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series” by Barton Paul Levenson, not yet published. Under BAU [Business As Usual], agriculture and civilization will collapse some time between 2050 and 2055 due to drought/desertification caused by GW [Global Warming].

    The % of humans on Earth who will perish is about 99.99%, maybe higher. That is what happens when civilizations collapse.

    Why don’t scientists “speak out”? They already are, but they are scientists, not TV station owners.

    See: “Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown”
    where the Sierra Club is one of the bad guys!

  40. 290
    Chris Dudley says:

    Tony (#227),

    The 83% cut from 2005 emissions levels by 2050 is fine. It is what we asked for in 2007*. We are asking for more now by setting 350 ppm as a would target, but that means a period of negative emissions after 2050 in the current RCP2.6 construction. Still, for RCP2.6, world emissions need to be cut starting around 2020. That means encouraging China to start cutting by then starting now so that we can gauge if we need stronger inducements in 2018 or so, such as 100% tariffs to allow them to simply scale back their industrial activity rather stepping towards prosperity by switch their energy policy.

    So, the US is doing the whole contraction and convergence thing. China needs to make a 60% cut from 2020 emissions by 2050 for them to be a part of contraction and convergence and make RCP2.6 possible. And, they’ve got to bring India and Canada along with them. Everyone needs to be cutting by 2020.

    *McKibben et al. (2007) “Fight Global Warming Now” Holt, NY

  41. 291
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I am having this problem that I’m sure many others are having… who can you discuss Climate Change with. I live in the South and the very people who are supposed to be teaching science in the public schools REFUSE to even talk about it to their students. These are folks with a degree in science And they don’t BELIEVE IN SCIENCE!!!

    What do you do about that? I mentioned Climate Change to a science teacher and their response was…. I HATE AL GORE.

    Is anyone else having this problem? What do you do?

  42. 292
    DIOGENES says:

    Climate 4 Revolution #283,

    “Global Warming now means at least 5-6°C under BAU, before even touching the 20+ climate feedbacks published about since IPCC’s 2013 deadline……Why is it alarmist to want to explain to people that the elites in charge of society don’t mean them well?”

    You have summarized the problem well in your post. I would qualify your last sentence. It is not only the ‘elites’ in charge of society that do not have our best interests at heart. As I point out in #257, there are two major energy supply groups that are pulling out all the stops to exploit the climate change crisis in the time remaining. One is the high carbon energy group, and the second is the low carbon energy group. As you can see by the majority of the posts on the major climate blogs, their main interest is pushing implementation of their technologies, and rarely, if ever, do they provide any evidence that such implementation will avoid ultimate climate disaster. That’s not surprising; such evidence does not exist. Implementation of even the low carbon technologies without the attendant stringent fossil energy demand reduction will have minimal effect on avoiding disaster.

    “More ppl will die from Global Warming than both our World Wars combined.”

    Well, in WWI, there were about 20 million deaths world-wide, and in WWII, there were about 60 million. You mention 5-6 C without incorporation of the carbon feedbacks under BAU. If you accept Lynas’ view of extinction at those temperatures, we are talking about the possibility of TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE MORE DEATHS from climate change than in WWI and WWII combined!!! The next time you read one of the unpaid advertisements on this blog, or on any climate blog for that matter, and recognize that the product will not prevent the catastrophe described above, place it in the proper context.

  43. 293
    Michael sweet says:

    Edward Greisch,

    You might want to consider writing a post on Nuclear Energy for Skeptical Science. They accept submissions from anyone, I have written posts there. You will have to cite peer reviewed data or they will not accept the post, Brave New Climate does not count. That would enable you to post on topic without the owners of the blog criticizing you and you can straighten out all the people who have the wrong impression of nuclear. In the past, nuclear supporters at SkS have posted to renewable threads off topic. They rarely cite peer reviewed data, instead citing industry shills like the International Nuclear Regulatory Agency and Brave New Climate. They usually spend a lot of time insulting the other posters. When they are invited to write an OP, they decline and vanish. Perhaps there are no positive peer reviewed articles on Nuclear? The pro-nuclear posts at SkS (and here at RealClimate) converted me from a supporter of nuclear to being against nuclear.
    From your posts here, I am sure you can do better. I would be interested in seeing what you can find supporting Nuclear Energy in the Peer Reviewed literature. Unfortunately, what I have seen is generally not very positive about nuclear. Can you address how nuclear will power countries at war like Syria, Iraq and all of Africa? How can Nuclear power peak usage during the day without spilling large amounts of power at night like they do in France? In Florida, where I live, Nuclear is not economic. Please address that. Nuclear waste and the Fukushima disaster (monetary costs alone $250 Billion and rising) are often raised as points against Nuclear so I would recommend you address those up front in the OP.

    I look forward to your positive contribution to the scientific discussion of Nuclear power. Once your article is posted online you can post on topic as often as you wish and you can stop insulting the other posters with ad hominum comments because they disagree with you.

  44. 294
    DIOGENES says:

    Mal Adapted #282,

    “It’s abundantly documented that the Kochs are funding opposition to policies that promote renewable energy,”

    The name of the game is not to promote renewable energy (or any other energy supply technology) per se; that’s purely an action without a tangible objective. The name of the game is to do whatever is necessary to prevent the ultimate climate disaster. Even if the Kochs removed their opposition to renewables, that by itself would do little to prevent the ultimate catastrophe. What needs to be promoted is stringent FF demand reduction. That, in concert with massive reforestation/soil and vegetation management, is the ONLY measure that will give us even a prayer of avoiding climate disaster.

  45. 295
    DIOGENES says:

    Lawrence Coleman #276,

    “Not sure about an ecological global collapse within 100 years? My feeling is between 75-200 years.”

    I don’t see how we can avoid it. Even on this blog, climate change amelioration Ground Zero, most of what we see are Defeatist proposals; these are proposals that, if implemented, will lead us directly to climate disaster. Thus, a proposal to e.g. implement renewables and higher energy efficiency technology without requiring attendant strong FF demand reduction is raising the White Flag in the fight to avoid climate disaster. We should require a warning label on these proposals, similar to the ones we see on cigarettes and alcohol. What happened to the America in which I was raised? When I was young, we required ‘Unconditional Surrender’ from the enemy; now, in the War on Climate Change, all I see are proposals that offer only ‘Unconditional Surrender’ on our part. What happened to our fighting spirit; when did we lose it?

  46. 296
    DIOGENES says:

    William Geoghegan #194,

    “I would be very interested in reading comments about the newest post on

    The Arctic Atmospheric ‘Methane Global Warming Veil’. Its Origin in the Arctic Subsea and Mantle and the Timing of the Global Terminal Extinction Events by 2040 to 2050 – A Review.

    By Malcolm P.R. Light, Harold Hensel and Sam Carana
    June 8th, 2014″

    It is an interesting article, combining hard fact with supposition. The two main authors, Carana and Light, have no peer-reviewed publications on the specific topic, and Light’s referenced peer-reviewed publications are tangentially related at best and are almost thirty years old. However, there is enough factual and troublesome material of interest to warrant posting of an article on this topic on this blog. I would prefer to see people like Wadhams, Semiletov, Shakova et al, who have decades of actual hands-on experience in the Arctic, contributing heavily to such an article.

    I have emphasized peer-reviewed articles as a proxy for credibility, but caveats are in order. There is a ‘daisy-chain’ characteristic to the whole peer-review system, such that the ‘establishment’ viewpoint permeates the process and determines which articles end up seeing the light of day in the published literature. So, the fact that Light and Carana have not made the recent peer-reviewed literature doesn’t rule out, in my mind, that they might be right on target. However, their absence from the peer-reviewed literature doesn’t rule it in either. That’s why we need an independent group of experts from many perspectives to evaluate the seriousness of the methane release problem, not just one establishment spokesman.

    I have no doubt this methane release problem is being understated in official channels, just as the 1 C ceiling has been understated and other key metrics have been understated. The last thing any of the national administrations throughout the world want is for their constituents to realize how serious the climate change problem really is, and what extreme steps are required to have any chance of getting it under control.

  47. 297
    Radge Havers says:

    CH @ ~ 288

    Yep. No easy answers. Are you also a teacher? If nothing, else do what you do.

    I just saw this, don’t know if it helps:

  48. 298
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 288, 293

    I think I see the problem there. Try this approach:

    As Chris Smither says about evolution, it

    isn’t something you believe in. It’s something you understand — or don’t.

    See also Peter Watts:

  49. 299
    Corey Barcus says:

    @ Michael Sweet #293

    “Perhaps there are no positive peer reviewed articles on Nuclear?”

    It is encouraging to see that the energy discussion here at Real Climate has not dissipated. I recall seeing an article in one of the engineering journals about how climate scientists support renewables 2:1 over nuclear as an appropriate response to global warming. I find this troubling.

    Has anyone else seen this?

    “An important new study in the journal Energy…”

    “So if you ever wondered why climate scientists like James Hansen are pro-nuclear, this is one reason.”

    GETTING TO ZERO: Is renewable energy economically viable?

    “EROI isn’t a new concept, and there are a lot of similar studies out there already. Weißbach has taken a good look at the previous literature and identified and corrected inconsistencies in many previous works. Most especially, the EROI of nuclear power in previous studies has been notoriously all-over-the-map, and Weißbach has pointed out a raft of errors, omissions, and uneven-handedness in earlier works, both those that come out above and below his result. Also, Weißbach has used the most up-to-date databases available on the energy embodiments of materials, which are required to compute energy inputs.”

    Also, this health physicist’s view that the costs of Chernobyl ($hundreds of billions) were largely driven by LNT and radio phobia is very interesting:

  50. 300
    Edward Greisch says:

    293 Michael sweet: I am being very careful to not mention the N word, so I won’t answer your questions right now. Your questions are easily answerable. Why do you bring it up when I don’t?

    Michael sweet: It is up to you to invent and patent and manufacture a battery that can be built in sufficient quantity to affordably make up for the 70% of the time that renewables are not producing electricity. Show us all the math. Or you could invent the room temperature superconductor. Your choice.

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