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Forced responses: May 2019

Filed under: — group @ 2 May 2019

A bimonthly open thread on climate solutions and policies. If you want to discuss climate science, please use the Unforced Variations thread instead.

303 Responses to “Forced responses: May 2019”

  1. 151
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @140, we are all tempted to staunchly defend the leader of our “tribe” because that’s how we are wired up genetically. But sometimes that leader is incompetent, self serving and blatantly and irrefutably dishonest. Please stop defending the indefensible.

  2. 152
    nigelj says:

    Zebra says “Reading the whole thing, we learn that despite the (projected) costs being lower, renewables are not getting built at the rate normal economic considerations would dictate.”

    Way to miss the point. They are still being built in significant quantities. Stop trying to score points all the time. What are the road blocks? What are your ideas to ensure more get built?

  3. 153
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @140, people have provided you with simple explanations of climate modelling etcetera, with minimal maths and you say its too simple. People have provided you with more in depth explanations and you claim its to complex, so you are hard to please!

    If you want to get a full understanding of the issues down to the nittry gritty details, theres no escaping reading textbooks strating at a level you know. There are no shortcuts its one step at a time like calculus. Believe me I also find it frustrating, but I get the general picture and I have faith in scientists.

  4. 154
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA says “But this we do know: for the next 5.5 years, it is more important for the survival of the US that we have a man like DJT who wants to MAGA, than it is to worry about AGW. We will deal with AGW later if necessary. There’s plenty of time – the beach at the ocean looks exactly as it has since anyone can remember. Too many have cried wolf over the centuries to get excited about those doing it today.”

    So because scientists have sometimes been proven wrong, we should ignore them and listen to people like Donald Trump, because he made some money in real estate after being gifted millions by Daddy, and probably by lying and god knows what dubious financing. Yeah that will end really well. (sarc)

  5. 155
    nigelj says:

    “My analysis is wholistic, holistic, comprehensive, systemic. That’s why it is so much more accurate than yours.”

    Hubris seems just such an inadequate word to describe this.

    And of course scientists and others don’t think comprehensively and holistically. They, um just do maths and physics, and never think beyond this (sarc)

    I wonder if Killian predicted the slow period of temperatures after 1998, since he knows how to predict everything?

  6. 156
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @149, do I detect a liking for nuclear power? While I have my doubts about current technology for all sorts of reasons, molten salt lithium reactors seem to have promise. They have an advantage the Killians of the world might quite like, in that they would use fewer planetary resources than wind power and solar farms. If we do have new power sources, its clearly good if they make efficient use of resources like this.

  7. 157
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA, so your defense against the claim Darth Cheeto lied is that he’s too stupid to understand the difference between climate and weather? Personally, I think that’s charitable. He is a very stupid man, but I think he just doesn’t care about the people who will be impacted in the near term and is willing to bullshit his way through his term.

    Bullshit is worse than lying. Lies can be found out and corrected. Bullshit is forever. This man has been caught out lying over 10000 times since his inauguration. He’s on track to hit over 30000 lies during his first term (assuming they continue to increase quadratically as they have so far). How can an intelligent person with any integrity defend this man?

  8. 158
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin McKinney: Russia basically has oil, and oil is *not* the future

    AB: When it comes to future farmland the US basically has Alaska, and Russia has Siberia and enough oil to bring about the future.

  9. 159
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel,
    I have no final opinion about nuclear technology. I do believe that the nuclear subject is currently like abortion: there’s strife and bickering down that path. Thus, I guessed that nuclear isn’t going anywhere. Ask me tomorrow and I might guess the opposite. Folks are fickle and maybe when we get to experience the entirely new weather patterns a blue Arctic Ocean will bring everyone will embrace nuclear.

    But whatever the future, regular oil costs about $15 a barrel ($10 in Saudi) and renewables can’t touch that. Anybody who says renewables COST less than fossil is abusing English. Renewables may sometimes be priced less than oil and natural gas, but they cost way more. Factor in human nature and…

  10. 160
    Al Bundy says:

    Gonna explore this limb…

    And yes, kiddos, a poll in Russia revealed that climate change is a national goal. And they’re splitting their internet off from the west (like lots of other countries [China]) so your opinion and your actions mean squat. Zebra’s right, not everyone shares your tribe’s stripes. Your nightmare is their nirvana and they can bring it about without your input. Unless you want nuclear winter (Russians aren’t afraid of winter) get used to the heat. Heck, Putin owns the US government…

    Game over?

  11. 161
    Aaron Dunckel says:

    Today, our “leader” said that the moon is part of Mars. I think that’s pretty much the end of whatever remaining discussion there is to be had about whether he will ever understand climate change. Seriously, can we dispense with airing political cultism in this forum?

  12. 162

    #128, zebra–

    …we learn that despite the (projected) costs being lower, renewables are not getting built at the rate normal economic considerations would dictate.

    I don’t think the link I provided actually establishes that, unless you define “normal economic considerations” as excluding all policy and regulatory realities, in which case the point becomes a bit tautologous. If in Ohio regulatory factors inhibit building solar quite as fast as its pure cost competitiveness would suggest, then in California the reverse is true. (And when it comes to influencing the demand for fossil fuel, guess which is more important?)

    The bottom line:

    Solar energy dominated global investment in new power generation like never before in 2017. The world installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity, far more than the net additions of any other technology – renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear – and solar power attracted far more investment, at $160.8 billion, up 18 per cent, than any other technology.

    http://www.greengrowthknowledge.org/resource/global-trends-renewable-energy-investment-report-2018

  13. 163
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @159, yes nuclear power involves a lot of strife and bickering, probably much of it due to worries about safety due to disasters like Chernobyl. And this made me very sceptical about nuclear power for a long time, however I have learned that nuclear power generation actually causes fewer deaths per mwatt hour than most other forms of electricity generation, and very low levels of radiation are now believed to be harmless. The linear relationship on harm is thought to be wrong. Granted getting this message across to the public is difficult, and it would probably take a massive leap in climate change to change peoples minds about nuclear power.

    I’m not sure where you are going with costs of renewable energy. Lazard does a big analysis and wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity generation and solar power is close, and this is why generators in America are building this power. This is all based on levelised costs, and this does not include a price on carbon so its a good unbiased comparison. Factor in the climate costs of fossil fuels and the cost advantage of renewables is even higher. So I don’t get where you are coming from.

    Clearly growth of renewables is not as fast as we want. Zebra suggested something about making Americas lines network open and allowing more competition among generators and this might help, if that’s what he is saying. But there are also all sorts of simple ways of incentivising renewable energy. The road blocks are mostly political resistance to these, due to the influence of fossil fuel lobby groups, so we get tokenism, but I think all people can do is to keep pressure on politicians and do what we can in terms of reducing our own carbon footprint.

    I like your comments about Russia but they are obviously reliant on other countries importing their gas and oil and if this slows down, it will neutralise Russia. Big if I know!

  14. 164

    AB, #159–

    “But whatever the future, regular oil costs about $15 a barrel ($10 in Saudi) and renewables can’t touch that. Anybody who says renewables COST less than fossil is abusing English. Renewables may sometimes be priced less than oil and natural gas, but they cost way more.”

    OK, I find that extremely confusing.

    First, the most common benchmark for oil is Brent crude, and that ain’t anywhere near $15. These guys have it at $63 as of today, while West Texas Intermediate is at $54:

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/crude-oil-price-forecast-crude-171243254.html

    What the OPEC basket is at, I don’t think I care; the 300% inflation of Brent seems more than enough to cover the grounds for my confusion/skepticism.

    Second, I can’t find a logical basis for any apples-to-apples comparison between wind or solar and the price of a barrel of crude. I mean, oil in the ground has a price of zero, essentially, and so does a sunbeam. So that comparison’s fine, if unhelpful. On the other end of the process, you can compare the cost of generating electricity by burning various fossil fuels versus the cost of doing so by harvesting power from wind or sun. That’s apples-to-apples. But how do you align intermediate steps in the process? Here’s what I’m thinking.

    Production chain for oil products to power:
    Oil: Pump, Transport, Refine, Transport, Sell/dispense, Burn/distribute power

    Production chain for solar to power:
    Solar: Capture/harvest/distribute power

    So I can’t make sense of your comparison as posed, because I don’t see any production step for either solar or wind that’s comparable to the ‘barrel of crude’ step for oil.

    Third, I really don’t know what your last sentence is supposed to mean. The cost/price dichotomy you draw is not self-evident in this context and you don’t explain. However, I’d think that the primary metric used is the correct one–LCOE–and it that case the result is unequivocal: renewables in fact cost much LESS.

    https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-and-levelized-cost-of-storage-2018/

    Well, OK–compared with gas CC, they only cost a *little* less.

    [Snarky comments about human nature suppressed here.]

  15. 165

    AB, #149–

    …fossil can go down at an amazing rate… and not decline at all. A much smaller percentage of a much larger pie is still going to give you planetary diabetes.

    True in principle.

    However:

    1) More renewable generation capacity is being built now than any other energy source;

    2) Generation plants have lifetimes usually of 50 years or less;

    3) “Solar and onshore wind have won the race to be the cheapest sources of new ‘bulk generation’ in most countries,” says Tifenn Brandily, energy economics analyst at BNEF. “But the encroachment of clean technologies is now going well beyond that, threatening the balancing role that gas-fired plant operators, in particular, have been hoping to play.”

    4) “By 2025, the share of “at risk” coal generation will jump from 74 percent to 86 percent, adds the report by Energy Innovation Policy & Technology in San Francisco and Boulder-based Vibrant Clean Energy… “Very often, even if I gave you that [coal] power plant for free, you’d be better off getting somebody to build you a wind or solar farm to replace that energy…”

    So, combining #1 & 2, we can expect to see fossil’s share of the pie shrinking to very low levels well within that 50-year span. Adding #3 & 4, however, we can see that a whole lot of coal plants are going to be retired prematurely. Most probably, the same is going to be true of gas peaker plants fairly soon as well.

    Sources:

    https://energynews.us/2019/03/25/midwest/analysis-new-wind-solar-cheaper-than-operating-most-existing-coal-plants/

    https://www.evwind.es/2019/05/08/the-cost-of-generating-wind-energy-and-solar-power-has-fallen/67073

    Finally, what is the current global share of renewable energy in the generation mix today?

    Per this, as of the end of 2017, ~25%:

    https://yearbook.enerdata.net/renewables/renewable-in-electricity-production-share.html

    Putting it all together, it seems unlikely to me that global energy growth is going to even come close to compensating for the decline in fossil fuel’s share.

    (And, FWIW, I think that will be true not only in the electric generation mix, but also in primary energy production–though above I’ve been talking only about the former.)

  16. 166
    nigelj says:

    AlBundy@159, oh I think I see what you are trying to say now: Oil will fall in price and undercut biofuels and electric car costs? Yes this is likely to happen to some extent, but I suggest there are strict limits to this process before it kills off the oil industry in terms of financial viability, and electric cars are developing fast, and becoming attractive for all sorts of different reasons.

  17. 167
    Killian says:

    Re #140 Mr. criminal said Wrong. He did not deny climate change.

    Lie.

    k it changes both ways. Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming, that wasn’t working, then it was called climate change. Now it’s actually called extreme weather, because with extreme weather you can’t miss.

    Lie.

    Few people have been except scientists working in that field.

    Lie.

    Right now, no thorough explanation exists

    Lie.

    There are good websites… but none which begin with the absolute basics so the average person might understand it.

    Lie.

    There’s plenty of time

    Lie.

    the beach at the ocean looks exactly as it has since anyone can remember.

    Lie.

    Too many have cried wolf over the centuries

    Lie.

    Shame on you all for encouraging this filth.

  18. 168
    Killian says:

    You win First Prize for the most self-aggrandizing, insulting, and dismissive-of-one-and-all post!

    Truth hurts. I don’t lead with ego, that’s the rest of you. Facts are facts. Fact is, I said years ago truth about long-tail risk was the key to climate messaging.

    I was right.

    And about much else.

    These are facts.

    You don’t like facts.

    Too damned bad.

    Stop listening to yourself; you’re wrong. Always will be. Because you don’t think on the germane points, you don’t use appropriate logic, you don’t know the necessary information and your ego is all that really matters to you.

    Try facts, they work better than your ego.

  19. 169
    Killian says:

    Re #164: He meant the production of oil, period. You are comparing the endproducts. The cost to produce a barrel of oil in SA is said to be about $5. It might be slightly higher today, as that number was from back in TheOilDrum days, but won’t be any higher than $10 or so, I’d guess. The cost in other areas used to be, iirc, around $30. That might be high. And, of course, newer fields run as high as $50 or so, and fracking rocks and all that nonsense approaches $100. Again, iirc.

    I’d also guess he was using $15 as a mean or average globally, but he can clarify that.

    So, again, these numbers are pure production, not refinement or even shipping. Comparable numbers for solar would have to include full supply chain from mining of materials to when the panels produce electricity, but not distribution or storage.

  20. 170
    Al Bundy says:

    Aaron Dunckel: Today, our “leader” said that the moon is part of Mars

    AB: I was impressed. That hints that he’s been exposed to the “mars-sized impactor” theory of the moon’s creation.

    _______
    NigelJ: Lazard does a big analysis and wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity generation and solar power is close… …Factor in the climate costs of fossil fuels and the cost advantage of renewables is even higher.

    AB: You are absolutely right about externals. With them included there is no comparison. The biosphere is worth “more than all the money in the world”.

    Lazard used PRICE, not cost. Price includes return on investment and royalties, which are the bulk of the price when it comes to oil and gas. If you’re going to beat oil and gas economically you’ve got to do it at the lowest price where oil and gas producers would still produce, and that’s when the price is a bit higher than the cost, with sunk costs ignored. That’s about $15/barrel. Since the next generation engines will approach 66% efficiency it is difficult to see how fossil-driven engines will be driven out of the market economically.

    And even if a coal power plant is running at a loss it is wise to keep it going as long as practical because cleaning up a coal ash pile/pond is a bitch. I’d guess that the “premature” retirements are of coal power plants are actually retired exactly as planned so as to maximize profit while garnering sympathy for voluntarily taking a bullet for the planet. Kind of like North Korea voluntarily shutting down an old nuclear facility.

    __________
    Kevin McKinney: More renewable generation capacity is being built now than any other energy source;

    AB: (translation): Even now fossil infrastructure is expanding, which means we’re going backwards. That renewables are also being built is irrelevant (ask Killian).

    Kevin McKinney: Generation plants have lifetimes usually of 50 years or less

    AB: How about 60+ years, and that’s using 1950s technology. A new plant will surely last a century.

    “Most coal-fired capacity (88%) was built between 1950 and 1990, and the capacity-weighted average age of operating coal facilities is 39 years”
    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=30812

  21. 171
    Killian says:

    So, if a couple PHDs say what I’ve been saying for years, do you believe them, or ignore them bc of your petty personal biases?

    https://theecologist.org/2019/jun/03/green-growth-wont-save-planet

  22. 172
    Al Bundy says:

    As of 2007 the US had 37 operational coal powered power plants that opened between Aug 1938 and Jan 1950.
    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oldest_existing_coal_plants

    “Various factors influence the decision to retire a power plant. For example, the coal power plants retired since 2008 were relatively old and small, averaging 52 years and 105 megawatts (MW), compared with the fleet of coal plants still operating, at 39 years and 319 MW. Other influential factors include changes in regional electricity use, federal or state policies that affect plant operation, and state policies that require or encourage the use of certain fuels such as renewables.”
    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34452

    So, over 50 and too small to bother with. Imagine all the effort put in by protesters for stale crumbs.

  23. 173
    Mr. Know It All says:

    EIA projected estimates on global renewable energy:

    2050 percentage of marketed energy from renewables: 18
    2050 percentage of electricity generation from renewables: 29.8

    Source:
    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=527&t=1

    161 – Aaron D
    What he meant:
    https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Fact-Check-What-is-the-moon-13960364.php

    In other news:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/07/glacier-national-park-quietly-removes-its-gone-by-2020-signs/

  24. 174
    zebra says:

    Kevin McKinney,

    I think Al is pointing to what it costs Saudi to produce the oil, meaning that they have ample room to reduce the selling price. This has allowed them to manipulate the market to impede the energy transition in the transportation sector.

    But I think Al and I are making the more general case about how humans behave in the real world. Here’s something that is not “snarky”, just terribly sad and frightening and depressing:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/mystery-crop-fires-scorch-thousands-of-acres-in-syria-and-iraq–and-isis-claims-responsibility/2019/06/07/8507eb00-87a1-11e9-9d73-e2ba6bbf1b9b_story.html?hpid

    Read the whole thing. It’s not just ISIS; it is probably all of the local populations that would rather go hungry than allow their competitors to prosper.

    And maybe we could stop asking “why do people in the US vote against their own economic best interests?”, and stop the Denial about what the science tells us.

    The point here is not to say that your optimism is so misplaced that we should just give up. To the contrary, the hopeful stuff is telling us that we might succeed… but only if we are willing to accept how hard the fight is, and how we must put aside ideological and “moral” niceties in order to do so.

  25. 175
    MA Rodger says:

    Aaron Dunckel @161,
    The full quote runs:-

    For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!

    So I would suggest you are picking the poor child’s cherry!! He did not really say that “the moon is part of Mars”, did he? Surely the child said that “going to the moon” was done “50 years ago” so today NASA “should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing” like going to Mars and that returning to the moon “is a part” of that.
    I’m sure that, in his role of Darth Cheeto, the child in charge of your country would be fully aware that the moon and Mars are real and seperate things, just like the ‘Death Stars’ and the ‘Starkiller Base’ were real and seperate things. (Being myself but a small-brained mammal, I had to look up the history of ‘Death Stars’ on Wikithing.) Now if “going to the moon/Mars” had been said by the child tipped to become ruler of my country, (that’s Jabba the Twat who some say is a Sith Lord), it could be that he intends to make the UK part of Mars or the moon because we will be leaving you all for points unknown on 31/10/19. More seriously (& on topic) Jabba’s AGW credentials are a bit worrying.

  26. 176
    Ray Ladbury says:

    OK, first let me state that no one feels more contempt than I do for the current occupant of 1600 Penn. Ave. He is an imbecile and a bullshitter.

    That said, his statement that the moon is part of Mars does not refer to the two heavenly bodies, but rather to the strategy NASA has outlined for getting to the Red Planet. To wit, they plan to use the Moon and also a gateway outpost orbiting the moon as staging points for an eventual Mars mission.

    In other words, rather than senility, Darth Cheeto is merely being his usual in-eloquent, glib and inconsistent self. There are so many more and better reasons to be outraged by this man.

  27. 177
    Hank Roberts says:

    In certain shale basins like the Permian Basin, natural gas production far outstrips pipeline and processing capacity to the point that some producers will pay to have it taken away instead of flaring it at the wellhead….

    https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/06/08/3-top-energy-stocks-to-buy-right-now.aspx

    Crazy.

  28. 178
    sidd says:

    Re: “It’s complicated science involving many parts. Want to improve the understanding? Post the science on a website. It may be many tens of pages in length. Who would take the time to read it? Who knows. Right now, no thorough explanation exists, except perhaps in expensive text books … begin with the absolute basics so the average person might understand it. Maybe it isn’t possible – I don’t know. If the people can’t understand how … why would you be surprised that they don’t believe it?”

    That argument applies equally to proving that shitting in the well i drink out of is harmful.

    It’s complicated science involving many parts. Want to improve the understanding? Post the science on a website. It may be many tens of pages in length. Who would take the time to read it? Who knows. Right now, no thorough explanation exists, except perhaps in expensive text books … begin with the absolute basics so the average person might understand it. Maybe it isn’t possible – I don’t know. If the people can’t understand how … why would you be surprised that they don’t believe it?

    sidd

  29. 179
    Killian says:

    I hear an echo…

    One way to move forward in a positive direction is to abandon a singular focus on lifestyle choice to focus resistance on externally-conceived and profit-driven developments as a moral and even survivalist imperative and work to re-establish community through solidarity economies, replenishing those relations severed by the growth-centred logic.

    Material or energy dematerialisation is simply not enough. It must be accompanied by an economy built on care and responsibility, rather than profit, growth and self-interest if it is to have any long-term impact. This is a small but absolutely crucial step towards attaining the authentic desires for sustainability that many of us are so dearly committed to and which we so urgently need.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/hipster-vegan-green-tech-economy-sustainable-190605105120654.html

  30. 180
    Killian says:

    I’ll just leave this right here for anti-skyrocketers/incrementalists to ponder.

    https://medium.com/@albertbates/farewell-to-the-fishes-f2ca5ee5ed6

  31. 181
    Ric Merritt says:

    Please tell me where I can buy a few million barrels of that $10 and $15 oil! But keep it just between us, so all those chumps don’t find out who are paying $50 and $60 for it, because I wanna resell it all and retire, thanks.

  32. 182
    Steven Emmerson says:

    Al Bundy@159 wrote:

    Anybody who says renewables COST less than fossil is abusing English.

    Did you account for economic externalities in your cost estimate for fossil fules?

    I didn’t think so.

  33. 183
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Killian,

    Is this example of permaculture what you propose as a solution? Just a minute of this video will be enough for you to know:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9T4T-LqQJk&list=PLxuM31_RPf_otxnEJMngu84Hl7dxA83DT&index=10

    Another example:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9ZukMyejLk

  34. 184
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: Try facts, they work better than your ego.

    AB: Don’t act like the doofus you aren’t. You and I have personal issues but there is nobody on this site, including you, who believes that I don’t cherish facts. You’re an ass and I’m a recovering ass.

    Your claim that you act purely Spockian is bullsh*t. Your post was pure emotional override. Note that every time you do that your amygdala grows in power, ensuring that you become ever more prone to losing logical control. Hmm, given that you’re like Mr Spock, perhaps you have that “seven year itch”?

    __________

    Ric Merritt: Please tell me where I can buy a few million barrels of that $10 and $15 oil!

    AB: LOL. Tis easy, marry a Saudi princess! Then you get oil at cost.

    ____________

    Steven Emmerson: Did you account for economic externalities in your cost estimate for fossil fules?

    AB: Heavens no. I was using GOPpish definitions. Using reality, I’d say that given the carbon load we’ve accumulated, oil should cost whatever it costs to remove and store the carbon it spews plus whatever it costs to pump plus the value of the oil itself plus 2 cents for the “job creators”.

  35. 185
    Aaron Dunckel says:

    Re: which part of Mars is the moon? All fair enough. The larger point stands.

  36. 186

    Killian, #169–

    “You are comparing the endproducts.”

    Indeed I am. I thought I was quite clear about that. But thanks for clarifying what Al meant.

    “Comparable numbers for solar would have to include full supply chain from mining of materials to when the panels produce electricity, but not distribution or storage.”

    I’m not an accountant, but wouldn’t that be double-counting? Presumably, all that would be included within the project development costs, no? And if it weren’t, then we’d have to carry out a corresponding supply-chain analysis for petro-products, too–every rig, every bit of machinery that got the crude into the barrel. But I’d presume that that’s all covered by the ‘cost’, whatever it currently is.

  37. 187

    Al, #170–

    “Even now fossil infrastructure is expanding, which means we’re going backwards. That renewables are also being built is irrelevant (ask Killian).”

    It may be, just, if considered on a global scale. And yes, that’s ‘backward.’ But it’s very obvious that that is rapidly changing: fossil is *not* expanding, but contracting, in many places, including some of the world’s larger economies. And where it is still expanding, it’s doing so much more slowly than previously, and it’s pretty clear that that expansion will soon reverse itself. Look at the clean energy investments being made by India and China, for example, and look at the shrinkage of the coal project pipeline.

    Nor is the RE coming online “irrelevant.” First, it’s supplying needs that might well otherwise have been filled by fossil fuel generation. So, most likely, we are at least less-worse-off because of that RE capacity than we would have been otherwise. And second, even if we cry “Jevons!” and assume (somewhat implausibly even on a global scale, IMO, and completely implausibly in the case of nations like Denmark, the UK, or even Germany) that no fossil generation has been displaced so far, then that capacity is serving as the incubator of a technology that will soon be bringing about that shrinkage of fossil-burning.

    “How about 60+ years, and that’s using 1950s technology. A new plant will surely last a century.

    “A new plant will surely last a century.”

    I find that far from sure–in fact, I’m highly dubious that it is true. Got any support for the assertion?

    “Most coal-fired capacity (88%) was built between 1950 and 1990, and the capacity-weighted average age of operating coal facilities is 39 years””

    From which I would conclude that ~ half of it will be retirable by 2040–which was exactly my point. And that’s not even dealing with the likelihood of premature retirement due to economic unviability, which we are increasingly observing today.

    I have some questions about your remarks to nigel as well.

    You wrote:

    If you’re going to beat oil and gas economically you’ve got to do it at the lowest price where oil and gas producers would still produce, and that’s when the price is a bit higher than the cost, with sunk costs ignored. That’s about $15/barrel.

    First, isn’t that $15 applicable to *the cheapest case*? I’m quite certain that Canadian oilsands crude doesn’t come at that price, as Killian also said. So, the Saudis can do that; how much of the rest of OPEC would that apply to? How much of the global oil supply?

    Second, about that “sunk costs ignored” bit, just how long can the Saudis keep producing without sinking some more costs? From what I hear, oilfields don’t exactly maintain themselves–cf., Mexico, Venezuela, and Iraq.

    Since the next generation engines will approach 66% efficiency it is difficult to see how fossil-driven engines will be driven out of the market economically.

    Seems to me there’s an awful lot of dots needing connecting here. I’ve read that the first-order efficiency of current ICE engines is about 30%, so roughly speaking, you are claiming an imminent increase of about 2x. A quick search found that Toyota says it can reach 38%, as of 2014:

    https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1091436_toyota-gasoline-engine-achieves-thermal-efficiency-of-38-percent

    But that’s before you get into the nitty-gritty stuff involving gearboxes and other inconvenient impedimentia of the real world.

    So, let’s say 2x for simplicity. How much impact does engine efficiency have on the overall operation costs for vehicles? Clearly, it would affect fuel mileage and/or power (depending on tradeoffs chosen). But it’s not the whole picture, because you still have the efficiency, or lack thereof, of the entire production/distribution chain, and you still have the economic costs of maintenance. Both of those factors, as I understand it, are advantages to the electrics. The whole question begs quantitative treatment. Frankly, I got nothing on this, but what do you have? I’d like to see it, whatever it is.

  38. 188

    zebra, #174–

    “I think Al is pointing to what it costs Saudi to produce the oil, meaning that they have ample room to reduce the selling price…”

    It appears that you’re correct, based on your comment, and those by Killian and by Al himself. Good to have that straight in my head.

    “…the hopeful stuff is telling us that we might succeed… but only if we are willing to accept how hard the fight is, and how we must put aside ideological and “moral” niceties in order to do so.”

    I’m actually not sure to what extent I agree with you there. I certainly agree whole-heartedly that we must accept the difficulty. It’s emotionally challenging even to look honestly at the climate issue, and as you say, the human nature side of the problem can indeed be “terribly sad and frightening and depressing…”

    That’s one “advantage” of living with the Trumps, Bolsonaros, Putins, and Orbans: you are forced to get used to the fact that many people are not, in fact, “above average” when it comes to the milk of human kindness. And I’ll admit that the fact that Mr. Trump’s political support persistently hovers above the 40% level is particularly disturbing to many of us in the US.

    All that said, I’m not so sure about the idea of putting aside ““moral” niceties”. I’m not sure what that means to you, first of all. What do those scare quotes mean? And what does “nicety” mean?

    Sure, hard choices may well need to be made, and they may well involve a moral dimension. And, to be real, if you’re going to wrestle a pig, you’re going to get dirty. Still, one doesn’t want actually to *be* the pig, right? And is it worth considering whether wrestling is the correct moral and tactical choice? I mean, a mature pig may well outweigh an NFL lineman by a factor of 2. Might there be a better choice?

    We might not have the option to be pristine, to be ‘perfect.’ Should that mean that we don’t still bear in mind some imperative to be better? Good?

  39. 189
    Al Bundy says:

    Mr KIA,
    That was quite the place! She’s got herself a full time job for life. I’m interested in seeing what Killian has to say. She had lots of suspect stuff. That tunnel greenhouse was glazed in plastic, for example. So, Killian, what is she doing right? What needs improvement? What’s just plain wrong?

    ___________

    Killian: I hear an echo…

    AB: The link was about folks who spend outrageous sums of money. How does that not resemble something Nigel would say?

    oh, by the way, the Facts:

    Two other people called you out for your hubristic comment. So that’s three.

    Nobody said that your comment was warranted. That’s zero. Hmm… 3 to 0.

    Killian, perhaps you should listen to a man who said, “Try facts, they work better than your ego.”

  40. 190
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @177, you correctly point out the impediments to change, for example that oil companies could lower the cost of oil and coal to undercut renewables, Russias reliance on oil exports and the advantages it perceives from a warming climate. It’s all useful stuff but you are starting to sound like Zebra: Cynical!

    To make renewables truly viable is going to take government intervention in the market, whether by subsidies, carbon taxes or whatever , all to counter the problems you raise. So people need to lobby politicians directly, talk to them, email them.

    We should also try to use less energy, and probably most people could reduce their use somewhat, but nobody I knows likes spending more than necessary on power bills so there’s not that much fat that can be cut. To achieve large reductions in the per capita use of energy also requires more efficient heating like heat pumps or more insulation and double glazing, and these cost a lot of money that people don’t always have, so we are very reliant on an efficient, centralised, modernised renewable electricty grid.

    What’s more, a 21st century electricity has to happen within a lower growth economy, but this is possible in theory anyway by shifting priorities around: Less resources on military spending and big status defining homes and cars.

  41. 191
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy, No self control, by Peter Gabriel. Will blow your mind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yEcTB2va5E

  42. 192
    sidd says:

    Re: Saud

    At 60USD/barrel they are running a deficit of about 20 billion a year. They got around 600 billion in reserves, all is cool for 25-30 years.

    The numbers are horrible at 15USD a barrel. They got a war to run as well, bombimg Yemen aint cheap.

    sidd

  43. 193
    Killian says:

    Re 184 Al Bundy said Killian: Try facts, they work better than your ego.

    AB: Don’t act like the doofus you aren’t.

    Aw. Thanks.

    You and I have personal issues

    No, you have personal issues, I call you on them.

    there is nobody on this site, including you, who believes that I don’t cherish facts.

    Sadly, not true. Still addicted to bullshit, I’m afraid.

    You’re an ass and I’m a recovering ass.

    No, I’m an INTP, you’re an ass.

    Your claim that you act purely Spockian is bullsh*t.

    Look up INTP. We are always misunderstood by those of you wallowing in ego and emotion.

  44. 194
    Killian says:

    Re #186 Kevin McKinney said Killian, #169–

    “You are comparing the endproducts.”

    Indeed I am. I thought I was quite clear about that. But thanks for clarifying what Al meant.

    The cutoff point is important to the cost comparisons you two were whistling past each other with.

    I’m not an accountant, but wouldn’t that be double-counting?

    No. Production and distribution are not the same, clearly.

    Presumably, all that would be included within the project development costs, no?

    Projected *total* costs, yes, but that wasn’t the point being made.

    Sorry, TOD days triggered. I’ll leave you two to it hoping the interjection was useful.

    And if it weren’t, then we’d have to carry out a corresponding supply-chain analysis for petro-products, too–every rig, every bit of machinery that got the crude into the barrel. But I’d presume that that’s all covered by the ‘cost’, whatever it currently is.

    Of course. And that was the point. All that still was only $5/barrel. Anything past that point is a little more cost, once it’s ready for shipping. A great deal of refinement, I’m sure you know, happens in the U.S., particularly the Gulf coast.

    Sorry, TOD days triggered. I’ll leave you two to it hoping the interjection was useful.

  45. 195
    Killian says:

    Re #187 Kevin McKinney said Nor is the RE coming online “irrelevant.” First, it’s supplying needs/i that might well otherwise have been filled by fossil fuel generation.

    Correction: Wants. Needs are a small fraction of wants.

  46. 196
    Killian says:

    Humorous Idiocy of the Day:

    “My analysis is wholistic, holistic, comprehensive, systemic. That’s why it is so much more accurate than yours.”

    Hubris seems just such an inadequate word to describe this.

    Cute, but not the funny part. Wait for it…

    And of course scientists

    Ding! Scientists were not in any way part of the post.

    and others

    Ding! Nor were “others.” The post was to *one* person. But still not it. Wait for iiiit…

    I wonder if Killian predicted the slow period of temperatures after 1998

    The silly moppet just invoked “The Pause” a thing which never happened, and asked if something that never happened was predicted!!

    Literally LOL… glorious…

    Oh, and AmaButthead: Seriously, you’re invoking the likes of the above as having “called [me] out?” Go ahead, get Trump in on it, too….

    Holy crap… LOLOLOLOL!!!!

    OK… this blowout has been plugged.

  47. 197
    Al Bundy says:

    Sidd, LOL, yes, wars are $expensive$ and the Saudi family is an exponential beast. The regime will morph or fall. That, of course, doesn’t bind whoever comes next.

    Nigel, no worries. As I said, I’m exploring a path. Doesn’t mean i’m planning to live in the weeds. Now, you’re talking “government intervention”. My point is that that’s not enough. You need governmentS intervention, and not just a majority. Given that we’re “skin of our teething” it already, what happens when some of our biggest players pull the other way? And not the convincible sort like a denier. There is now a block of countries/leaders/pillagers who don’t give a rat’s A about you or yours or the future. As zebra asks, “What’s the plan?”

    Kevin: First, isn’t that $15 applicable to *the cheapest case*? I’m quite certain that Canadian oilsands crude doesn’t come at that price,

    AB: The number is old but Saudi @ $10 is “conventional wisdom”. Other regular oil is around $15 to $25 (again, non-quotable numbers). Offshore and unconventional are non-competitive and can be ignored. They, like coal, will die. (But geez, we need a no-new-fields policy if not a no-new-wells policy!!) And remember, it isn’t like renewables will drop terribly quickly. Solar still has paradigm changes possible but wind seems fairly mature. Oil and CH4 will ride the downward wave so as to extract their capital investment and foist the cleanup on whatever society exists in the end.

    Kevin, I’ve offered you evidence about the imminent advance of internal combustion before. Are you saying that you’re now ready to see what I’m basing my arguments on? If so, send an email to ManyAndVaried@hotmail.com.

  48. 198
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin McKinney: So, let’s say 2x for simplicity…impact…overall operation costs …entire production/distribution chain… maintenance

    AB: And to answer your larger question, I believe I’ve more than doubled real world engine efficiency and more than halved air resistance. My concepts for suspension, wheels and tires should seriously lower rolling resistance while softening the ride and enhancing handling, resulting in a large 200-250MPGe ultra-safe supercar that requires almost no engine maintenance: change the oil and filters while checking stuff for wear every 20,000 miles.

    Note that a 65% efficient simultaneous combined cycle engine in a cheap piston format trounces a 61% efficient sequential combined cycle engine in a mind-bogglingly expensive turbine format. That means cheap bio- and synfuel power plants are possible. It also means air travel is quite viable: just use contra-rotating propellers instead of jets. Contra-rotating propellers are one behind the other as opposed to on opposite sides of the fuselage. They’re more efficient but louder than regular propellers so I had to fix the noise…

  49. 199

    @140 Mr Know it all,

    You said one right thing in your whole post.

    “I still am unsure about some of that stuff.”

    That’s obvious to everyone here. But there is good news, the teaching website you requested exists and even better yet it has professional teachers and is completely free.

    https://www.edx.org/course/climate-change-science-ubcx-climate1x-3

    Try it. Your posts will improve dramatically when you learn what you are talking about.

  50. 200

    One (more) example of things starting to shift–Vietnam, til a couple of years ago staunchly ‘fossilist’, starts to get serious about wind energy:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/12/vietnam-to-see-1-gigawatt-of-onshore-wind-installed-by-2021/

    And yeah, coal is still ‘da man’ there, with more than twice as much capacity currently under construction as the rumored 6 GW target for wind. Still, this is a sizable shift, and may reliably be expected to accelerate, based on the cost picture. Betcha they cancel a good chunk of the coal capacity that’s currently under construction–let alone the capacity that’s merely somewhere in the planning process.

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