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Unforced Variations: Dec 2017

Filed under: — group @ 3 December 2017

Last open-thread of the year. Tips for new books for people to read over the holidays? Highlights of Fall AGU (Dec 11-15, New Orleans)? Requests for what should be in the end of year updates? Try to be nice.

379 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Dec 2017”

  1. 201
    Thomas says:

    In 100% Agreement with:

    170
    Killian says:
    18 Dec 2017 at 4:43 PM

    You want to solve people’s rudeness? One solution: Any post with any personal comment whatsoever gets Bore Holed.

    Done.

    MA Rodger, Ray L, Hank R., you’ve been allowing these three fee reign the entire time I’ve been here, yet you wonder why others feel free to snipe? On this board, even people who are natural allies turn on each other. It’s absurd. But boards take on the personalities moderation allows. They do not self-regulate.

    This is simple: No favorites, Bore Hole everything with even a whiff.

    Cheers

    —–

    Simple. :)

  2. 202
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @178, wise words, however any climate denialist reading Zebra or Killian will say great, all we have to do is hand out condoms and live on hippie communes, problem solved:)

    I do plenty to criticise politicians and climate denialists on other websites and have sent emails.

  3. 203
    Marcus says:

    I would be excited about a piece of Gavin, or something equivalently hard’n heavy, about the latest bullshit of Svensmark. Needless to say the Lom-Borg is already jumping on it in twitter. Is there something like a Dånsk school of denial?

  4. 204
    MA Rodger says:

    With gross levels of Killianisation within this UV December thread now exceeding that for all of November, a part-monthly report is triggered.
    Last month the Killian Komment Kwota (KKK) = 14% (49 of 342 Komments) while the Killian Word Kount Kwota (KWKK) = 19% (11,143 of 57 491 words).
    The gross KWKK for December (to the 19th) has exceeded November’s woth the gross prattle level running at 11,940 words. Part-month KKK = 22% (42 of 191 komments) and the KWKK = 31% (11,940 of 38,861 words).

  5. 205

    Killian, #185, 187–

    Risk assessment is a threat analysis, It’s the worst viable outcome.

    Which I gave as extinction of humans and severe biological impoverishment of the planet.

    You do not fully understand what I am proposing, but I understand what you are proposing.

    Quite possibly, but it’s not for lack of me inviting you to explain what you are proposing. Yet time after time you instead give what amount to assertions of superiority, in one parameter or another.

    You mean people do not want to survive?

    No, I mean that the perception that we are in a survival situation will only become clear until long after it is too late. As evidence, I submit the world today.

    Kevin: …it’ll be a lot easier and faster to get people to sub out fossil fuel use–even if ultimate sustainability is not completely attained thereby.

    Killian: Not only will sustainability not be achieved, virtually no mitigation, either.

    An assessment belied by the fact that quite a few nations met their Kyoto goals and have already achieved significant emissions reductions; that Paris NDCs are much more inclusive and ambitious, and there is already visible action toward meeting them; and that beyond treaty obligations and commitments, carbon intensity is falling over much of the world including the US and China. Coal is dying on its feet, and, IMO, we’re about to see oil demand start to crater, too–Trumpism won’t save it by desecrating US National Monuments. In a word, the global energy economy is visibly changing now.

    Of course, things can go faster or slower–and if there is more political pressure for mitigation, it will probably be faster. So my take-away would be that I need to put more energy into organizing for actions that I think will possibly have some effect in the promotion of survival, and less into unproductive ‘dialog’ with you. For someone so sensitive to ‘being dismissed’ you are awfully dismissive of the ideas and concerns of others–which pretty much kills real dialog.

  6. 206
    MA Rodger says:

    NOAA has posted for November with an anomaly of +0.75ºC). It is the =5th warmest November on the NOAA record after 2015 (+0.97ºC), 2013 (+0.83ºC), 2010 (+0.78ºC) and 2004 (+0.75ºC).
    November 2017 is =52nd warmest anomaly on the full all-month record (=25th in GISS, =31st in BEST).
    The table ranks years by the Jan-to-Nov average and with just December remaining, 2017 is firmly set in third spot for the full year (2nd spot for GISS), requiring a Dec anomaly outside the range +1.6ºC to -0.3ºC for the NOAA annual average to lose that 3rd spot. 2017 remains “scorchyissimo!!” for a non-ENSO-positive year.
    The top-ten annual averages are a little more orderly within NOAA that in GISS with only 2011 & 2008 of the last ten years outside that top ten.
    …….. Jan-Nov Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.95ºC … … … +0.94ºC … … …1st
    2015 .. +0.88ºC … … … +0.91ºC … … …2nd
    2017 .. +0.84ºC
    2014 .. +0.74ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … …3rd
    2010 .. +0.72ºC … … … +0.71ºC … … …4th
    2013 .. +0.67ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … …5th
    2005 .. +0.66ºC … … … +0.66ºC … … …6th
    2009 .. +0.64ºC … … … +0.64ºC … … …7th
    2012 .. +0.64ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … …9th
    1998 .. +0.63ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … …8th
    2007 .. +0.62ºC … … … +0.61ºC … … …12th

  7. 207
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    The danish astrophysician Henrik Svensmark has an article in the norwegian newspaper ” Klassekampen ” about his research concerning the influence of cosmic particles on cloud formation. In the article he makes rather sweeping negative statements concerning all geological-historical research into the causes of CO2 and climate variations during geological time. He completely dismisses all other explanations for the ice-age-periods during the last half billion years than the passing of our solar system through areas with higher production of cosmic rays when it rotates around the center of our galaxy. Since he has not tested or even discussed this hypothesis in any of his scientific work as far as I know, and does not produce or refer to any supporting evidence in this newspaper article, I with my knowledge in geology cannot see that what he says has any connection with the geological and climate record. His and colleagues latest article about cosmic rays and cloud formation has no discussion about this.

    Any comments?

    [Response: He has a track record of doing exactly that. See our post back in 2006 (a whole solar cycle ago!) discussing his exaggerations and rather wild claims based on a earlier (and similarly small scale and technical) paper. -gavin]

  8. 208
    Thomas says:

    “Christiana Figueres, a former United Nations climate chief, predicts that we have only three years left to “bend the [carbon] emissions curve downward” and mitigate a series of runaway global catastrophes.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/20/alaskas-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge-1bn-price-tag

  9. 209
  10. 210
    Mr. Know It All says:

    209 Thomas

    I always wondered exactly where, in ANWR, the 2000 acres would be developed. I have written to politicians, etc asking for the best guess – never got an answer.

    Too bad about ANWR, but it is true that people in all nations want to drive their FF cars so the oil has to come from somewhere.

    It is also true that the animals around Prudhoe don’t seem to be bothered by the pipeline and other oil industry development.

  11. 211
    nigelj says:

    Karsten V. Johansen @207 from what I have read Svensmarks “research” says when the sun in a quiet phase, it should cause more cosmic rays, so more clouds, so cooling. He says we should be in a cooling phase recently. I dont know how valid his research is but there’s an article below on it.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/12/19/exploding-stars-influencing-weather-scientists-find/

    IMO the fact the planet is warming therefore 1) suggests his cosmic ray theory is a weak effect and 2) something else is causing the recent warming like…. CO2 perhaps.

    So unless I have this wrong, his theory actually supports AGW theory!

  12. 212
    Marcus says:

    #211 Svensmark is basically saying that cosmic rays drive the climate as a singular, dominant forcing, which IMHO is discrediting him totally and puts him in line with the utmost stupid variant of denial.

  13. 213
    Thomas says:

    204 MA Rodger knows how to hurt a guy! Have I lost my title? :-(

    Mr. Rodger, you are clearly really good at counting numbers and words. Keep it up. But I’m wondering if you comprehend what all those words actually said and mean. (?)

    Mr. Killian may not be ‘the embodiment of perfection’ when it comes to ‘personal style’ but I can here what he has been saying and I agree with his analysis and comprehend the Principles he has tried to convey here.

    Can’t see the problem. All seems logical rational and scientifically based to me, iow backed up with verbose observations of present reality. There are many papers on these matters raised by Killian.

    I can also recall what words were said and meant immediately prior to Killian using choice words such as ‘peanut’. Again a quite natural and likely type of response in the real world. 1+1=2 kind of a thing. :-)

    When Killian uses words like “overshoot” I immediately know what he means. I agree with him. Isn’t that already obvious and proven to be the case? The word ‘sustainable’ is not Klingon language. Mmm, or is it? Maybe it is to some people, I don’t know. I fail see any lack of logic or inaccurate ‘facts’ in Mr Killian’s core assertions and his explanations/clarification.

    Maybe folks just have a hard time ever saying “hey yes, you’re right about that, I agree and understand.” Or if necessary as a first step, go read up on the subject withholding judgement in the meantime?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobbing

  14. 214
    Thomas says:

    210 Mr. Know It All, well coal seam gas wells don’t take up much land area. Gas wells blend in fine with agriculture and pastoral farms.
    http://csgfreenorthernrivers.org/sandbox/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/tara_gas_field.jpg

    2,000 acres of something like in Tara wouldn’t hurt the ANWR or animals much. (?)

    RE “It is also true that the animals around Prudhoe don’t seem to be bothered by the pipeline and other oil industry development.”

    Sure. And the animals that used to be there but no longer are because they’re dead now? I bet they don’t “seem to be bothered” either because you actually cannot see them anymore.

    An absence of lack of evidence does not necessarily equate to evidence of absence!

    Things are not always as they seem to be you see?

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That’s as true in New York as it is in the ANWR.

    Conservatives these days are anything but “conservative” anymore. The very cloth of traditional societal structures are being torn to shreds without a moment’s thought and it’s being led by so-called “conservatives” and “traditionalists” – yeah right.

  15. 215
    Thomas says:

    bugger,

    Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence!

  16. 216
    Thomas says:

    Failure to comprehend does not equal incomprehensible. :-)

  17. 217
    Brian Blagden says:

    Karsten (207) & nigelj (211) – not sure about Svensmarks teory supporting AGW theory. You can see his latest paper at Nature Communications https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02082-2

  18. 218

    Know It All says:
    “Too bad about ANWR, but it is true that people in all nations want to drive their FF cars so the oil has to come from somewhere.”

    Well I guess that you do know it all. Do you know that conventional crude oil is a non-renewable and finite resource, and that when it all gets extracted, that’s it? Ain’t no more.

    The fact that there is still a small fraction of crude oil left in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is irrelevant. Assume that amount is zero in practical terms and we go from there. Frankly, it’s embarrassing watching a tribe of people acting like this is not an issue. Your statement of “the oil has to come from somewhere” is very child-like in outlook.

  19. 219
    zebra says:

    Worth a read:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/upshot/the-great-disconnect-megacities-go-global-but-lose-local-links.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-0&action=click&contentCollection=Economy&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

    Humans will survive the longest in a low-population technological culture, concentrated in optimal locations.

    Food can be produced on the near periphery, and any manufacturing needed can occur within the same geographical area.

    But the most important “product” will be progress– advances in science and technology that change multiple paradigms.

  20. 220
    Richard Creager says:

    Killian 196
    You write: “I can imagine a sustainable serfdom; I cannot imagine it remaining that way… thus it would be unsustainable.”(your ellipsis). Yeah, ok then, that’s ruled out, since you can’t imagine it. Solid analysis.

  21. 221
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian: “Peanut, I’ve been here since at least 2008. What a foolish thing for you to have said. It perfectly illustrates your absurdly biased perspective.”

    And you’ve done nothing except promote your own agenda and attack anyone who raises the slightest doubt or voices the slightest reservations about it. The climate wars are a team sport. You aren’t a team player.

    As to insults…well, not everyone appreciates craftmanship. Who wants to become good at insulting people? Only anyone who wants to be successful in rhetoric. An insult, to be good, must have within it a concise and withering statement of the truth–as when Winston Churchill described Clement Attlee as “a modest man with much to be modest about.” No one remembers Attlee anymore except as the target of the insult. Just like no one will remember you unless I manage to skewer you, but good.

  22. 222
    nigelj says:

    Regarding high quality classy insults, I bought a book a few weeks ago called “Scorn by Matthew Parris”. Very current and up to date, but all the old classics as well. Hilarious reading.

  23. 223
    nigelj says:

    Marcus @212. That’s interesting, and it certainly does.

    Svensmark is another obsessed crank. A crank has got to be a specific personality type, because many of these cranks are cranky over a range of different areas of life.

  24. 224
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @213 you appear to agree with Killians philosophy. Perhaps you are supporting the underdog, and I respect that.

    But do you agree we should therefore radically reduce our consumption immediately by about half, and appreciate this means a huge pay cut as well, and live in small communities organic farming and adopt some form of socialised ownership? When will you be starting this transition?

    Like I have said several times, I agree with some of what killian says, for example permaculture farming and a need to at least “stop’ our ever escalating consumption.

    I do not agree with his radical cuts, and communal ownership, and that it could happen quickly enough stop dangerous climate change. Or put it this way I’m “sceptical” but open to persuasion.

    Why is it so hard for people to see you can support some of what people say, and not other things? Why are people so thin skinned?

  25. 225

    More on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The latest estimate is 8.7 billion barrels of of potential oil. That’s equivalent to ~3 months of world-wide oil consumption at today’s rate, and they may not even be able to extract all of that, if in fact the amount is exaggerated from previous estimates.

    As the original assessment was 6x lower than 8.7 billion barrels, then that was only equivalent to 2 weeks of world-wide oil consumption. No wonder the Trumpians at the USGS jacked up the estimate. They wanted to drill there so badly and needed an excuse to drill!

  26. 226
    Ron R. says:

    ‘Tips for books for people to read over the holidays’.

    Shameless Plug Alert:

    I’m a bit late here, but if anyone’s interested in an eco/adventure mostly based in the middle Miocene you might check out my novel Opalescence. A lot of the climate related info I learned here on Real Climate. :)

    Note: While the paperback version is $12.22, the lowest I could price it, the ebook version is only .99c.

    I’m not claiming it’s 100% accurate, but I did my best. Happy holidays.

  27. 227
    Thomas says:

    221 Ray Ladbury says:
    “Just like no one will remember you unless I manage to skewer you, but good.”

    Another very professional and mature comment. What’s next … “acid in the face” or “burn him alive” with petrol while locked in a cage over a style/philosophical disagreement?

    RE: “The climate wars are a team sport. You aren’t a team player.”

    Neither are you Ray and you have not been one here for years Mr Mirror-Mirror. Birds of a feather and all that jazz.

    Of course my ‘opinion’ carries no weight. I get that in spades. It just doesn’t bother me though. :-)

  28. 228
    Killian says:

    #200 Thomas said Killian says: “Population matters, but reduction does not solve either depletion nor climate.”

    Spot on Killian! Unfortunately, for some / or many (?) that’s not as obvious a true fact as it is for many others.

    Philosophy ‘n’ Logic 101

    Yes. So obvious, blindingly so, yet the **vast** majority of those talking about these issues believes the lie.

    This is why one does not design to wants and wishes, but to needs.

  29. 229
    Mr. Know It All says:

    214 – Thomas

    Facts on the Central Arctic Caribou Herd:
    “The Central Arctic herd migrates annually from the foothills of the Brooks Range, where it spends the fall and winter, north to the Beaufort Sea coast in the spring and summer. It inhabits the Prudhoe Bay oil field during summer and early fall as cows calve and suckle their young (Maki 1992, 1702).

    In terms of overall health, the Central Arctic herd has prospered (Cronin et al. 1998; Maki 1992; Pollard et al. 1996). In 1972, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the herd numbered 3,000 animals. Since then it has increased to between 25,000 and 27,000 (Maki 1992, 1703). The caribou population fluctuates naturally, reflecting factors such as predation, parasites, habitat condition, hunting, and weather (Cronin et al. 1998, 201).”

    Source: https://www.perc.org/articles/caribou-question

    218 – Paul Pukite

    Oil is a finite resource? No sheeit? GoodgawdalLmighty, let’s get drunk and be somebody! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA1oQu6z5oo

    And so is dirt, rock, and sea water. Tell us something we don’t already know. (Hard to do cause as you know, I’m MKIA.)
    :)

  30. 230
    Killian says:

    #204 and #213 Thomas said 204 MA Rodger knows how to hurt a guy! Have I lost my title? :-(

    Mr. Rodger, you are clearly really good at counting numbers and words. Keep it up. But I’m wondering if you comprehend what all those words actually said and mean. (?)

    …I can (hear) what he has been saying and I agree with his analysis and comprehend the Principles he has tried to convey here.

    Can’t see the problem. All seems logical rational and scientifically based to me, iow backed up with verbose observations of present reality. There are many papers on these matters raised by Killian.

    I can also recall what words were said and meant immediately prior to Killian using choice words such as ‘peanut’. Again a quite natural and likely type of response in the real world…

    Maybe folks just have a hard time ever saying “hey yes, you’re right about that, I agree and understand.” Or if necessary as a first step, go read up on the subject withholding judgement in the meantime?

    Both the climate science and systems science has moved to me, not the other way around. Yet… What you say, Thomas, by implication of your text and the link you posted, about mob mentality is accurate. There’s also the prophet effect and the “wangta” or outcast aka nerd aka geek effect. That is, the least similar present is “other,” as is the one suggesting the greatest change to current power and comfort. Basically, life without their lattes and EVs just ain’t no life a’tall.

    As usual, you are posting accurately. The brevity/clarity is appreciated. I shall try to follow your example.

    Oh, then this ironically happens:

    #221 Ray Ladbury said Killian: “Peanut, I’ve been here since at least 2008. What a foolish thing for you to have said. It perfectly illustrates your absurdly biased perspective.”

    And you’ve done nothing except promote your own agenda and attack anyone who raises the slightest doubt or voices the slightest reservations about it.

    1. All lies are not told by peanuts, but all peanuts lie.

    2. Not going to address the fact you were completely incorrect about my tenure here, eh? Par for the course.

    3. For the umpteenth time, I have no agenda. I do analysis and follow where it goes. Water is renewable. Current rates of use are not sustainable. See how that works?

    Aluminum is non-renewable (like oil) and no rate of use is sustainable.

    See how that works?

    4. Your problem, Ray, is as Thomas says, you just don’t like being told you are wrong.

    The climate wars are a team sport. You aren’t a team player.

    I posted a link to conversations from 2008, I think it was. My tone has not changed. Yours has. Do the math.

    Just like no one will remember you unless I manage to skewer you, but good.

    What an unfortunate ego you have, peanut. Why don’t you stop this silliness and return to the main floor where adult conversation and problem solving go on?

    *****************************

    220 Richard Creager said Killian 196
    You write: “I can imagine a sustainable serfdom; I cannot imagine it remaining that way… thus it would be unsustainable.”(your ellipsis). Yeah, ok then, that’s ruled out, since you can’t imagine it. Solid analysis.

    Indeed, peanut. I expect intelligent people to understand why a serfdom could be sustainable in terms of design, yet unsustainable, because it is crystal clear to me. However, since your noise to info ration is tiny, perhaps this assumption was incorrect in your case.

    I apologize for being too obtuse in my reference, so let me try still indirect, but easy to google: Paolo Freire, BlackLivesMAtter, Metoo, the CRM… etc.

  31. 231
    Killian says:

    #219 zebra said Humans will survive the longest in a low-population technological culture, concentrated in optimal locations.

    Yes, then no and no. However, as a test, I have not read the article because I wanted to try out a prediction:

    The article has either zero words on resource constraints or brushes them aside with magical thinking.

  32. 232
    Killian says:

    #219 zebra Part II “The economic base has shifted in a way that highly favors cities — and big cities — because it’s now based on knowledge, on idea exchange, on agglomeration,” said Mark Muro, the policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

    As you say, tech. But tech needs resources. This is a power dynamic with a short life span.

    To put it more harshly, when global cities need other communities today, Ms. Sassen said, it’s often to extract value out of them.

    Today? She surely means “…have ever needed other communities…” Cities are inherently extractive, thus unsustainable – certainly not at the scales we see, and likely not at any scale. A one-way movement of energy (and energy as physical resources) is unsustainable.

    “I keep coming back to the idea that a lot of this is about power,” Mr. Spencer said.

    Can’t argue with that.

  33. 233
    MA Rodger says:

    Karsten V. Johansen @207,

    The recent Norwegian press article you mention is surely in some way part of Svensmark’s publicity for his wonderful new paper published this week and entitled ‘Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei’. It is co-authored with colleagues Enghoff, Shaviv and the second Svensmark (J).
    This paper re-states the grand Svensmark theory and attempts to address the work that has shown cosmic rays cannot be a significant influence on climate because most aerosols run out of stuff to become big enough for cloud formation. In so doing, the paper sets out a physical mechanism (“an unknown mechanism” no less) that is claimed bypasses this lack-fo-stuff problem. The paper describes the mechanism and carries out physical experiments to apparently demonstrate its existence. The basis of it is that under high ionisation, the ions provide the stuff, apparently.

    There are, of course, two prongs to Svensmark’s grand theory. Firstly paleoclimate is not driven in any way by CO2 but by the proximity of planet Earth to supernova which Svensmark has helpfully converted into a nice graph that is a remarkable fit to global temperature reconstructions. So no need for any CO2 forcing (which of course doesn’t exist), apparently.
    And the other prong is the ability of the sun to shield planet Earth from such rays. Svensmark has in the past hit problems with this second prong which is rather essential within his bold claims, there being no flurry of recent supernova that have recently ceased and thus allowed the recent warming of our planet, given of course that the warming cannot be due to the increasing levels of GHGs.

    You did ask for “any comments,” presumably from those who know about this issue & there is one such comment appended to the Svensmark proclamation on the planet Wattsupia where Willard writes:-

    I asked prominent solar physicist Dr. Leif Svalgaard his opinion on the paper (and sent him the advance full copy). He had this to say:

    “Think about this:
    “TSI over a solar cycle causes a variation of 0.05-0.10 degrees C. If GCRs as per Svensmark has 5-7 times the effect of TSI, that would translate to a temperature variation of 0.35-0.50 C over a cycle, which is simply not observed, hence the paper can be dismissed out of hand.

    The battle over this paper will soon be waged in press and peer-review.

    Battle? I suppose in the past there have been many massacres that have gained the title ‘battle’ but it seems to me that joyously marching off to be massacred is all a little crazy.

  34. 234

    I’m finding the conversation about the ReThinkX analysis on the AGU thread interesting–well, I would, wouldn’t I, since it’s my link?–but off-topic there, so I’m attempting hereby to move it to the current UV thread.

    So, responding to the conversation which had continued to here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2017/12/fall-agu-2017/#comment-688303

    Killian said:

    “…at no point talks about the actual total reserves, rate of use vs. those reserves, and whether those reserves become uneconomic to exploit at some point.”

    1) …actual total reserves: Because, for lithium, no-one really knows what those are yet–estimates are “difficult,” and can vary quite considerably. Moreover, the main source today, South American salt brines, don’t even fit the usual paradigm very well.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium#Terrestrial
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium#Reserves

    However, for back of envelope purposes, current global production is ~32,500 tonnes pa; reserves stand at 14 million tonnes; and ‘resources’ are estimated at about 50 million tonnes. So that’s about 140 and 500 years worth, respectively, at current rates. The important question for this exercise, though, is ‘what might the future use rate be?’ And it’s a tough question.

    However, the ReThinkX report envisions a 70% drop in new vehicle manufacturing under the TaaS scenario. In 2016, global production was ~95 million vehicles, so that would give ~30 million vehicles pa. A Tesla has, according to Killian’s link, 63 kg of lithium, but most vehicles won’t have such powerful batteries, so I’m going to use the figure of 50 kg, rather arbitrarily but conveniently. So that’s 15 million kg of lithium, or 15,000 tonnes per year–about half of current production for all purposes. Clearly, total demand would rise, but not astronomically.

    The ReThinkX report gives several reasons to expect the actual numbers to be lower, but I’ll let those interested read them for themselves if they wish. The discussion is on pp. 52-55. For convenience, here’s a link again:

    https://tinyurl.com/k88ee3s

    2) …whether those reserves become uneconomic to exploit at some point: This point is often raised by those wishing, for one reason or another, to decry the ‘green potential’ of vehicle electrification. But it has always struck me as a weak one, because it seems to harbor an internal contradiction. On one hand, proponents envision a scenario of decreasing availability, in which resources increasingly constrain people’s ability to do things they want to do (and would otherwise pay to do). On the other hand, they seem simultaneously to envision a scenario in which prices of those scarce resources remain stable or even decrease. That, frankly, flies in the face of all economic history, and pretty much everything we know about human nature.

    My conclusion is that ‘it ain’t gonna happen.’ In the case of lithium, supply constraints will do what they always do: incentivize efficiency and recycling. As ReThinkX points out, lithium isn’t like oil, which is burnt once and then is gone forever. It’s a stock, not an input.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that there are no physical limits, or we would be wise to disregard supply considerations. Whatever the use rate, eventually any resource that is not renewable will be expended. Recycling has, so far, never been made 100% effective, so although the ‘burn-through rate’ can be reduced by many multiples, there remains a (very) long-term supply issue.

    However, in the case of lithium, it would appear to me that the resources are ample to cover the likely lifetime of the technology. Already there are successors to LI technology on the relatively near-term horizon. Here’s just one easily-Googled example:

    https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1111717_2022-toyota-electric-car-to-use-solid-state-batteries-for-faster-fast-charging-report

    Of course, this is just one of the resources involved, and perhaps not even the right one, since many people think that the near-term supply crunch is more likely to be in cobalt that in lithium. But given that cobalt isn’t necessary to LI tech–as stated in the article Killian linked, the Chinese auto giant BYD for instance uses a different chemistry for its cathodes, and so doesn’t need cobalt for its batteries–lithium seemed to me a better choice for our purposes here.

    My bottom line: seems to me that while we won’t be using LI tech forever, its widespread adoption as part of a transition to vehicle electrification (and, per ReThinkX, a dramatic drop oil demand and in absolute vehicle numbers and hence resources used for that purpose, plus economic and safety gains) would be a highly positive ‘bridge measure’ from ‘here’ to ‘a truly sustainable future.’

    And, again, I think we are in serious need of continued–nay, vastly expanded–consideration of what that sustainable future might look like. I will say that the more we discuss it here, the more I begin to question the idea that the ideal is some sort of steady-state society. But for zero energy growth, how workable is a mutable society? There are always ‘best practices’, so wouldn’t ‘best sustainability practices’ tend to converge?

    Or might there be a dynamic tension between those ‘best practices’, on the one hand, and on increasing knowledge and technological and technical ability on the other?

    Nor, I suppose, should one ignore the possible influence of future exogenous influences. Even if we had a steady-state society based on ‘best practices’, we would still need to be continually adapting to environmental changes–and that would be true even without anthropogenic change, which will be affecting global conditions for centuries to come. So from that perspective, ‘steady-state’ will never quite be that, no matter what we do.

  35. 235
    zebra says:

    Kevin M 234,

    And, again, I think we are in serious need of continued–nay, vastly expanded–consideration of what that sustainable future might look like. I will say that the more we discuss it here, the more I begin to question the idea that the ideal is some sort of steady-state society. But for zero energy growth, how workable is a mutable society?

    No idea why you say this. If, as I have suggested, you have a small, stable, technological population, then why do you need energy growth?

    Really, Kevin, you have to bite the bullet and start giving time frames with more specificity. And you have to be specific about whether you are talking about mitigation short-term or sustainability long term.

    If “sustainability” is defined as I did earlier…maximizing the time humans will exist…then my longer-term specification is necessary and sufficient to achieve it:

    Achieve the smallest population that maintains 1. genetic diversity and 2. specialization (where science and technology and the various other human arts can continue to progress).

    As you say here, there are other potential challenges than anthropogenic CO2. Low/no-tech is not going to offer the opportunity to build off-planet habitats for when the asteroid comes, or, say, genetically engineer humans themselves to survive acute “natural” environmental changes.

    This whole business of lithium and cobalt and so on seems pretty much a red herring. Again, specify your timeframe. In my vision of technology and AI in the next 300 years, for example, mining the asteroids with robots is hardly science fiction, although I don’t see why it would even be necessary.

  36. 236
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @219, your article is interesting, and I think you are right small global population living in cities with high technology makes sense. If small enough and with reasonable consumption levels they could be 100% sustainable over millenia time scales.

    Getting from this point to that point is really the issue and without damaging disruptions. It is a centuries long process to get population down, so we also need to advance renewable energy using the full range of options such as carbon taxes.We need to put the brakes firmly on gdp growth, and some sort of reduction in consumption.

    However IMO drastic immediate cuts to consumption could actually be damaging to peoples health, and ruin quality of life and only delay use of resources. Recycling can help us extend resources through the population transition.

  37. 237
    Thomas says:

    RE
    “Part II “The economic base has shifted in a way that highly favors cities — and big cities — because it’s now based on knowledge, on idea exchange, on agglomeration,” said Mark Muro, the policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.”

    Mark Muro is an idiot. You can’t eat knowledge, ideas or agglomeration. These things will also not make clothes, build homes, or get anyone from A to B.

    eg Uber is not in the “transportation business” … it’s a completely fraudulent business model which has no Value. None. It’s fundamentally a globalist extortion racket no different than Al Capone et al. But that’s another story. Muro is still a deluded idiotic fool … many of them out there, they kneel down at the God of Neoliberalism.

    I think they all belong in mental institutions. But again, that’s a another story, provable, but off-topic. Buyer Beware!

  38. 238
    Thomas says:

    In regard global agw action, I mentioned recently that (imho) a key solution is to both ignore and isolate the US. I also think that is precisely where the world is heading anyway behind the scenes due to US repeated recalcitrance on the issue. Repub/Dems political ideologies makes next to zero difference here. History confirms this clearly.

    Now while this ‘topic’ is not related to agw/cc it very much portends what is coming and must come from the rest of the world eventually… sooner than later would be preferable. :-)

    some classic quotes with some choice words:

    “No amount of bluster can hide this fundamental error, or the fact that Thursday’s vote does nothing in the real world, save underline America’s self-imposed isolation.”

    “As countless diplomats have warned in the past 24 hours, it will also be counter-productive, only deepening US isolation.”

    “Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures and different dreams not just coexist but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect,” Donald Trump said in his first speech to the UN general assembly, in September, drawing sighs of relief. — “The era of mutual respect was short-lived.”

    “A repeated resort to the veto by a permanent security council member – is normally a sign that a country’s diplomacy is misfiring.”

    “The line of attack was so populist, so redolent of a protection racket, that it can only be aimed at a domestic audience rather than an external one.”

    “Countries normally close to the US, such as Egypt, France and Saudi Arabia, had to take a discreet step away. They had their own courts of public opinion. When the roll call was taken, only nine countries – most with populations counted in the tens of thousands – backed the superpower. Haley’s notebook was filled with the names of 128 countries that had ignored her threats.

    So, different subject matter right now, but that’s the exact same “space” where it’s heading right now over agw/cc action and UNFCCC treaties etc. The US had better change it’s tune real fast or it will begin being ignored and isolated across the board … and eventually economic sanctions by the entire world.

    Now that’d bring down emissions almost immediately and focus the minds of all US citizens back onto reality versus Planet America Fantasy Land :-)

    As I said long long ago here, the issue is not the science, there is NO “climate wars” occurring it is all 100% Pure Politics and Ideology at play here. The “science” has for a 2 decades plus been irrelevant… or rather a minor player in this “sick game”. Ignore this reality at your peril imho. (shrug)

  39. 239
    Thomas says:

    Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2
    December 22: 408.19 ppm

  40. 240
    Thomas says:

    It is the purpose of the present paper to describe a method and a derived dataset that allow us to shed more light on the development of the age distribution of the Arctic sea ice.
    https://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/tc-2017-250/tc-2017-250.pdf

    eg
    When the new algorithm takes SIC into account then SIA is decreasing even more and the ice older than 4 years is observed
    only near the Canadian Archipelago coast (Fig. 6, D). Moreover, extent of MYI is also decreased and the sleeves of 2YI towards
    the Laptev and Chukchi seas almost disappear.

    eg
    6 Conclusions
    We have developed a new algorithm for estimating sea ice age distribution using sea ice drift and concentration products.
    The algorithm is based on the Eulerian advection scheme which provides smooth distribution of the ice age parameters and
    prevents the undersampling problem that may occur when a Lagrangian tracking approach is used.

    Does the ‘maths/counting’ stack up? Ray? :)

  41. 241
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @237, Marc Munro is not an idiot. He is simply describing reality as its happening right now. He did not suggest we don’t need manufacturing.

    But I agree Uber is a very dubious sort of company. Over hyped and it’s business model doesn’t really work, and its in trouble in the courts. Bitcoin looks equally dubious like a pyramid scheme.

    But Marc was mainly talking about the move from towns to cities and how globalisation is affecting this as well. Human geography. And it looks irreversible to me regardless of Uber and some of the other dubious offshoots of change.

  42. 242
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @238, yeah agreed. America has lost its senses and seriously risks isolating itself. America and Trump in particular needs to realise the world is bigger than America, and only has so much patience.

    However there’s no point demonising America too much, and there is obviously a range of views in America like any country. A big part of the problem is the way lobby groups rule politics, and its very difficult overcoming that, because the constitution embeds those sorts of corporate rights. Its the same thing that has crippled their climate change efforts. Koch brothers and all that.

  43. 243
    Killian says:

    #234 Kevin McKinney said And, again, I think we are in serious need of continued–nay, vastly expanded–consideration of what that sustainable future might look like.

    Why? That is not what you want to talk about. You spend this entire post discrediting the idea sustainability is even needed.

    from that perspective, ‘steady-state’ will never quite be that, no matter what we do.

    Research first. That is not what it means, any more than permaculture means unchanging.

  44. 244
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Thomas,
    It’s an interesting paper, and it seems to do a significantly better job of capturing the fragility of the Arctic sea ice–but the question is whether the improved results justify the increased complexity of the model. They likely do, but its hard to gauge. What I would be interested in is whether predictions of future evolution might be made–that’s where the true utility would be proved.

    Generally, though, it’s trying to model what is already known qualitatively–that young ice is crappy ice, and much more vulnerable than older ice.

    As to Killian, you misunderstand my comment. Any of a number of people could skewer him with a well crafted insult–I’m just the only one who cares enough to do so. Most people have given up on his posts. It is not that there is nothing of value there. Some of what he says is insightful–particular on details of permaculture and sustainability.

    The thing is that you have to wade through so much petty crap to find those nuggets, that most folks just won’t bother–and as he tends to account for 30-40% of the column inches on any given page, they are giving up on the whole blog as well.

    Look, even in a comment on a blog, you have to express yourself concisely. You have to get to the point–and if what you have to deliver is an insult, it has better be a well pointed one. Killian insults people all the time. He just doesn’t do it particularly well. The same verbosity that limits the effectiveness of his prose, blunts the effect of his insults.

  45. 245
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian,
    Actually, you didn’t post a link–or if you did, I didn’t see it.

  46. 246

    know-it-all says :
    “And so is dirt, rock, and sea water. Tell us something we don’t already know. (Hard to do cause as you know, I’m MKIA.)”

    Those are renewable resources, e.g. dirt is recycled into dirt.

    Isn’t it funny how they can’t grasp the simplest of concepts?

  47. 247
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @234, interesting points, but I think we do need some form of steady state society.

    Consider the problem. We are using resources fast, and this could lead to some form of crash. Its caused by population and gdp growth, so we have to promote both lower population and gdp growth, and eventually smaller global population (hopefully technology based).We should also promote more prudent levels of consumption.

    Eventually we may have to mine and colonise other planets. Even recycling has limits and we will run out of some things.

    The other extreme of rapid and drastic cuts to consumption proposed by the guru Killian, will simply increase hardship and mortality rates, while doing little to actually improve anything.

    GDP and population growth is already slowing. We need to all be ok with this, and identify the reasons, and enhance them. Promoting sustainability is part of this process, and points everyone in the right direction.

  48. 248
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    #4 “It has great amusing examples, and may help insight into how electric cars and renewable energy may develop, and also how acceptance of climate science may improve.”

    It doesn’t matter. Clown Car America is no longer relevant on the world stage.

  49. 249
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Vendicar Decarian,

    “Clown Car America is no longer relevant on the world stage.”

    I dispute this–as clowns are at least trying to be funny, whereas the US is currently comic precisely because it has no recognition of its cluelessness. Plus, even once the downward trajectory ends, while we may be living at the level of the Haitians the current administration deplores, we will be Haiti with nukes. Perhaps you could amend this and simply say that America is irrelevant as a force for good.

  50. 250
    Killian says:

    Interesting discussion of the state of soil carbon science (citizens ahead of the science, naturally enough) with a variety of resources posted.

    https://m.facebook.com/groups/1614492992155782?view=permalink&id=2042379326033811