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How much CO2 your country can still emit, in three simple steps

Filed under: — stefan @ 6 August 2019

Everyone is talking about emissions budgets – what are they and what do they mean for your country?

Our CO2 emissions are causing global heating. If we want to stop global warming at a given temperature level, we can emit only a limited amount of CO2. That’s our emissions budget. I explained it here at RealClimate a couple of years ago:

First of all – what the heck is an “emissions budget” for CO2? Behind this concept is the fact that the amount of global warming that is reached before temperatures stabilise depends (to good approximation) on the cumulative emissions of CO2, i.e. the grand total that humanity has emitted. That is because any additional amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will remain there for a very long time (to the extent that our emissions this century will like prevent the next Ice Age due to begin 50 000 years from now). That is quite different from many atmospheric pollutants that we are used to, for example smog. When you put filters on dirty power stations, the smog will disappear. When you do this ten years later, you just have to stand the smog for a further ten years before it goes away. Not so with CO2 and global warming. If you keep emitting CO2 for another ten years, CO2 levels in the atmosphere will increase further for another ten years, and then stay higher for centuries to come. Limiting global warming to a given level (like 1.5 °C) will require more and more rapid (and thus costly) emissions reductions with every year of delay, and simply become unattainable at some point.

In her recent speech at the French National Assembly, Greta Thunberg rightly made the emissions budget her central issue.

So let’s look at how the emissions budget concept can be used to guide policy on future emissions trajectories for countries.

Step 1: The temperature goal

First we need to determine at what level we want to stop global warming. That’s quite simple because it has already been agreed in 2015 by all nations in the Paris Agreement. That has taken decades of discussion and negotiations, ever since nations agreed in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” In Paris a consensus was finally reached on “limiting global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees”.

Last year, the IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5 °C (in short SR15) detailed strong reasons for why limiting to 1.5 °C would be much more sensible than to 2 °C.

Step 2: The global CO2 budget

Once the temperature limit has been agreed, we need to know the corresponding CO2 budget. That is a question for science, and the IPCC SR15 answers that, including the uncertainties as always is a hallmark of good science. The following shows the budget table from IPCC.

CO2 emission budget left from the beginning of 2018 in order to remain below a certain warming limit. Example: in order to remain below 1.5 degrees with a 67% probability, we can still blow 420 billion tons into the air from the beginning of 2018. From the beginning of 2019, that is only 380 billion tons, since around 40 billion tons are currently emitted annually. Source: IPCC SR15, Table 2.2

The uncertainties to a large extent result from the fact that CO2 is the main but not the only cause of human-caused climate change, so the CO2 budget depends on how we will deal with non-CO2 climate forcings such as aerosol pollution. There are also different methodologies to estimate the CO2 budget. A thorough analysis of the uncertainties is found in a recent paper by Rogelj et al. in Nature. The bottom line, as one of the co-authors (Elmar Kriegler) told me, is that the SR15 estimates in the table above are still the best we have.

Some have argued that the uncertainties make the budget approach a poor guidance for policy. I disagree. First of all, practically all of politics operates under high levels of uncertainty about the outcome of policy decisions; that is inevitable. In fact it is rare that politics has a clear guidance like the well-established linear relationship between cumulative emissions and global temperature. Those who criticise using this as policy guidance must come up with a better guidance providing less uncertainty, then we can discuss.

Second, some of the uncertainty is captured by the probabilities for reaching a certain temperature limit, shown in the table, so society can simply decide what level of risk of overshooting a temperature level they are willing to take.

And finally, all policy is to a large extent learning by doing. You start with the best scientific advice now (especially since we cannot afford to wait any longer), and if we know more in ten years time we can adjust policy then. Given that climate change is largely irreversible it is best to err on the safe side, i.e. the uncertainty, if anything, is a reason to apply the precautionary principle and reduce emissions fast.

Greta has argued in her speech to use 67% probability for staying below 1.5 °C, i.e. a 420 Gt budget from the start of 2018. Subtract 2 years of emissions, i.e. 80 Gt, then we’re left with 340 Gt from the start of next year. That is 8.5 years of current emissions – or 17 years until zero emissions in case of a linear rampdown.

If you translate the “efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees” promised by all nations in the Paris Agreement as a policy that gives us 50:50 chance to actually achieve that goal, that’s 500 Gt from the start of next year. That’s 12.5 years of current emissions, or 25 years for a linear rampdown, i.e. halving emissions in 12.5 years to reach zero by the end of 2044.

But beware of using those end dates instead of budgets, because it is not the end date but the cumulative emissions that count! A simple illustration: if you don’t achieve reductions in the next ten years but keep emissions constant, and reduce linearly after that, the result is that you have to reach zero ten years earlier! See the next figure.

Detrimental effect of wait-and-see policy. The blue emissions path stays within a 500 Gt budget, but the solid red path emits 700 Gt. To stick to the 500 Gt budget despite ten years of waiting, emissions need to reach zero by 2035 rather than 2045 (dashed line).

This is why one should not attach much value to politicians setting targets like “zero emissions in 2050”. It is immediate actions for fast reductions which count, such as actually halving emissions by 2030. Many politicians either do not understand this – or they do not want to understand this, because it is so much simpler to promise things for the distant future rather than to act now. Greta asked the pertinent question in her Paris speech:

”What I would like to ask all of those who question our so called ‘opinions’, or think that we are extreme, is: Do you have a different budget for at least a reasonable chance of staying below a 1,5° of warming? Is there another, secret Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?”

Step 3 Computing a budget for your country

How do you divide up the remaining budget amongst humankind? This is a crucial step since most climate policy is made at the national level. Yet, this is not a scientific question but one of climate justice. Who gets how much?

I can’t solve this question but I am going to propose a starting point, based on the idea that a principle of fair distribution needs to be universal and simple. The most simple one clearly is an equal per capita distribution. Anyone who wants more of the budget than someone else would need to provide a good reason. There could be many reasons – cold countries might claim they need more emissions for heating, hot countries for air conditioning, large countries for transport over long distances, developing countries to eradicate poverty, rich countries because they are already developed.

A tricky question is: at what point in time do you distribute the budget? This is important because rich countries are eating up the remaining CO2 cake much faster than poor countries. I would propose: from the time of the Paris Agreement, i.e. from the start of 2016. Of course developing nations will argue (and have argued) for a much earlier start date, to account for the historic emissions of developed nations. That may be justified but has the practical problem that the remaining budget for countries with large per-capita emissions is then already zero or rather: overdrawn.

So just to be practical, let’s take 2016. So you compute the remaining global budget at the start of 2016 by adding 80 Gt to the IPCC budget table numbers shown above. Then you multiply that number by the population of your country, divide by the global population, and then subtract the emissions of your country from the start of 2016 until now. I have done this for Germany (in a German blog post) using a global budget of 800 Gt from the table, just to be generous, for a 67% chance to stay below 1.75 °C (my interpretation of “well below 2 °C”). The result was a remaining emissions budget of 7.3 Gt from the start of 2019 or 6.5 Gt from the start of 2020. That is 8 more years at current emissions. The next figure shows a linear reduction trajectory compatible with this budget.

Emissions budget example for Germany

I’m not so concerned about the exact numbers, given the uncertainties discussed above. But there are at least three important conclusions from the budget approach.

First of all, nations with high per-capita emissions need to reduce faster than others, based on the limited budget and simple justice considerations. If some reduce faster and some slower, even if every nation reduces linearly global emissions will not decline linearly, but more rapidly at first from the reductions of wealthy nations, with a longer tail of emissions from developing nations reaching zero later.

Second, even with generous assumptions (like an 800 rather than 420 Gt global budget and a 2016 start date for dividing up the cake) emissions from developed nations need to drop much faster than almost all politicians think, in order to honour the Paris agreement.

Third, it is not some end date that counts but rather very rapid reductions starting right now. The end date is a moving target – every year we wait we lose two years: the year we waited, and a year at the end because the required end year moves towards us.

Finally, unprecedented global cooperation is needed to tackle the climate crisis. This may involve deals that make the tight budgets more palatable to countries with high per-capita emissions – for example they might find partners with low emissions and negotiate to use some of their budget in exchange for technological and financial support in climate adaptation and mitigation.

p.s. (7 August): I have posted a spreadsheet where you can look at this budget estimate and the budget reach in years for any country. Someone suggested on twitter I should provide a site which automatically produces the figure above for any country – I don’t have the time to do this but it is not a bad suggestion, perhaps there is a volunteer?


Messner et al. 2010: The budget approach: A framework for a global transformation toward a low-carbon economy (PDF)

For a more complex formula to share the budget: Raupach et al. 2014, Sharing a quota on cumulative carbon emissions.

117 Responses to “How much CO2 your country can still emit, in three simple steps”

  1. 51

    #47, dp–

    The first link says Colorado will save money by replacing existing coal plants with renewables. This is contradicted by MIT and Bloomberg. Perhaps Colorado is using inadequate storage and counting on their gas generation or perhaps they are getting subsidies.

    Perhaps you’re confusing a 100% renewable energy scenario with the current commercial reality? Of course Colorado is using their existing gas capacity.

    ““As technology has advanced, the costs of wind and solar have come down so much that building new wind and solar is less expensive than operating many legacy fossil fuel generating plants,” Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, said in an email. “This is opening up new market possibilities to retire fossil fuel plants and replace them with clean, renewable energy. While we can’t comment on any individual proposal from a private company to a utility, we are excited to see creative proposals coming forward.””


    “Guzman says it can manage to buy the plants and still provide cheaper energy because generating electricity with coal is so expensive. “It speaks to how far out of the money these assets are,” Guzman President Chris Riley said in an interview. “The assets are so expensive that to provide lower cost energy is not hard to do.””

    Of course, that’s another “glossy” report, from the midst of a corporate dustup.

    You can’t say the same for Lazard, which had this to say, back in 2017:

    “As LCOE values for alternative energy technologies continue to decline, in some scenarios the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear.”

    In 2018, there was an update:

    “The levelized cost of utility-scale solar is nearly identical to the illustrative marginal cost of coal, at $36/MWh.”

    (That “marginal cost of coal” means “operating existing plants.”)

    Forbes had previously weighed in on this, back in 2017:

    “Part of the reason we’re seeing such significant growth in renewable capacity is that solar and wind make good economic sense. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) recently reported that solar costs already rival coal in Germany and the U.S. and very soon will do so in China, the world’s largest investor in renewable energy…. But its economics are now beginning to become cheap enough to potentially push coal and even some natural-gas plants out of business faster than what was once previously forecasted.

    “According to BNEF, costs of new energy technologies are falling so fast that it’s more a matter of when than if solar power and alternative energy sources gain a larger market share than fossil fuels.” This makes me wonder where/when BNEF “contradicted”

    So, yeah, renewables that are cheaper to build than simply operating existing coal capacity are a reality. Not everywhere, not yet. But over much of the US now, that is the case.

  2. 52
    dpy6629 says:


    I actually looked at all five of your links. My characterization is correct.

    The Florida example is very small by power plant standards (powering 309,000 homes for 2 hours?). Just because its “big” by battery standards shows how tiny battery storage is compared to what is needed. 409MW is about 8% the name plate generation capacity of Grand Coulee Dam. Once again its a truly insignificant “accomplishment.” Hyping it shows how desperate some are to make renewables look good.

    Lazzard is worse than MIT and Bloomberg at clearly showing the problem with renewables. Even in their chart with a few PV + storage lines, most of their costs are WITHOUT storage which is deceptive. Here’s the list from their table on page 2 of the detailed report. Only 1 includes storage and that one is much higher cost than conventional sources.

    Solar PV—
    Rooftop Residential Solar PV—
    RooftopC&I Solar PV—
    Community Solar PV—
    Crystalline Utility Scale (2) Solar PV—
    Thin Film Utility Scale (2)
    Solar Thermal Tower with Storage
    Fuel Cell
    Gas Peaking
    Nuclear (4)
    Coal (6)
    Gas Combined Cycle

    Your India example is another example of a very small number being blown up into something significant by you. 20GW is 3 times the hydro name plate capacity of Grand Coulee dam and is a very small number in todays environment.

    So none of what you cite comes up to the standard of significance. A little like claiming that Greenland is shedding XXs Gtons of ice per year without saying that it’s 0.1% of the total ice mass per year. It is deceptive for you to claim otherwise. Or perhaps its why you never directly address whether these numbers are significant or not. It’s because your case collapses if you do.

  3. 53
    dpy6629 says:

    #51. I don’t think you even read my links. All your deceptive quotes from the press are WITHOUT storage. These plants can only function effectively with virtually 100% natural gas backup which is a huge capital cost.

    Read the detailed MIT and Bloomberg reports. They are very detailed and give a more complete picture.

    If your deceptive numbers were real, you would not need to waste time arguing with me on the internet as simple economics would cause utilities to switch to renewables very quickly. Your unconvincing and deceptive arguments show you lack confidence in your own position.

  4. 54
    dpy6629 says:

    Nigelj, I gave the links on renewables in my first comment here. Clearly you haven’t bothered to check them and are just making baseless assertions.

    You pointed to nothing specific that Lewis has said that is wrong or even disputable, except the statement about the developing world being vastly more important to future emissions than developed countries, which is obviously true. Of course you can always pull a stray sentence out of the context of a vast body or work if your purpose is to smear someone as you are clearly doing here. His body of work is generally of very high quality.

    Lewis’ science is in fact not really disputed by other climate scientists. Instead they look for reasons why the energy balance method (which they liked when it gave high sensitivity numbers) must be biased low.

    [Response: Not really. Yes, there are lots of reasons to expect the constraints based on only historical trends to biased low, but the specific choices made by Lewis in his estimates are often quite ad hoc (a veritable jungle of forking paths) and almost certainly underestimate the uncertainty. Also his use of ‘objective/uninformative’ priors for the bayesian calculations are strongly objected to since they correspond to no prior that anyone would have had prior to the calculation being done. Better methodologies do exist and (hopefully) will see the light of day shortly. – gavin]

  5. 55

    Having read Nic Lewis, I have come to the conclusion that what he writes is a waste of everyone’s time. And I think that is his intent — to create a twisted world of detail that no one is able to follow, yet appears impressive to the gullible.

    As Gavin said in his response to you:

    “but the specific choices made by Lewis in his estimates are often quite ad hoc (a veritable jungle of forking paths)”

    My advice is to stay out of the jungle and stick with the simple arguments, and the same applies to your flimsy turbulence/chaos arguments.

  6. 56
    dpy6629 says:

    Well Gavin, It is true there are choices in any energy balance method for example aerosol forcing estimates are an important source of uncertainty. However, Otto et al is an example of a paper using the same method with a host of authors (including Bjorne Sevens and Myles Allen) that arrives at similar estimates to Lewis and Curry. It’s paywalled but perhaps you can tell me what prior they used. It is also true that Lewis has a long track record of making a good defense of his choices. That’s why he is taken seriously, contrary to Nigel’s dismissal of his work.

    If the uncertainty is underestimated, that’s important and someone should publish better estimates. I believe Lewis and Otto et al use IPCC estimates of uncertainty in the forcings for example. Perhaps those need to be updated too. The problem here is that climate science is quite uncertain. The models are not very skillful particularly with regards to regional changes, and ECS is no better constrained today than in the Charney report. Nor is there much prospect for improvement. The problem of course is that the changes in energy flows we are trying to model are roughly 2 to 3 orders of magnitude smaller than the total fluxes. Thus, numerical truncation errors are comparable in size to those changes.

  7. 57

    d 52: 409MW is about 8% the name plate generation capacity of Grand Coulee Dam. Once again its a truly insignificant “accomplishment.”

    BPL: Grand Coulee Dam is one of the largest power complexes on the planet, smaller only than a few of the giant hydro complexes in China. This is a comparison deliberately made to make the first number look small. A typical coal or nuclear plant is about 1000 MW, so 409 MW is quite comparable to that. You are the one playing with numbers to exaggerate your point.

  8. 58

    d 53: If your deceptive numbers were real, you would not need to waste time arguing with me on the internet as simple economics would cause utilities to switch to renewables very quickly.

    BPL: They ARE switching to renewables very quickly. I’d suggest catching up on Forbes or Bloomberg Weekly.

  9. 59
    dpy6629 says:

    Regarding Nigelj and Kevin Mc’s assertions I did some research on India’s electricity sector which demonstrates how easy it is to misrepresent the role of renewables.

    India installed PEAK capacity for wind is 36GW, or 10% of total installed capacity. However, wind generates only 4% of total power in India with coal accounting for 76%. Thus, any renewable installed capacity numbers need to be scaled down by a factor of 2.5 to be comparable to other sources of generation.

    And with India’s generating capacity growing rapidly, their emissions are going to rise quite rapidly over time.

  10. 60
    dpy6629 says:

    #55. It’s 409MW for 2 hours!! A coal fired power plane is 1Gw continuously even by your figures. If the wind doesn’t blow for 24 hours, the battery facility would become 34 MW for 24 hours, perhaps a better number to use.

    My point is that its very easy to artificially magnify the renewables capacity and its routine in the media, especially the part of the media that generates clicks from hyping renewables. The India example is another easy to find example.

  11. 61

    dp, #57–

    Thus, any renewable installed capacity numbers need to be scaled down by a factor of 2.5 to be comparable to other sources of generation.

    Congratulations, you just discovered something called “capacity factor”. (However you can’t conflate wind’s cf with that of every other form of RE.)

    You may perhaps learn next that cf is not immutable, either, since it’s usually defined in terms of annual actual generation of a particular resource divided by nameplate capacity during available generation hours. This is affected by technological improvements, variations in inputs (such as water available to turn turbines or cool reactors or fuel prices), and by relative economic advantage. Thus, US coal capacity factor has been declining because its utilization rate has been declining–and that in turn is because natgas and renewables have both been undercutting coal on price.

    Turning to the Indian situation specifically, you speak about the growth of India’s generating capacity. But you speak about it in static terms of what “is”. That’s all very well, but you thereby miss the whole point, which is the change going on.

    Prior to 2016-17, annual capacity additions were overwhelmingly coal-fired generation. But by the end of 2018, the equation had flipped, with 74% of new capacity for the year being wind and solar:

    The proportion of RE in actual generation is following the same trend:

    “The share of renewable energy in overall power generation in India stands at an all-time high of 9% for the period of January-November 2018, with final numbers for December awaited. Q3 2018 saw the record-breaking share of wind and overall renewable energy technologies in overall power generation at 8.2% and 11.9%, respectively. Q3 2018 also marked the first quarter ever when the share of renewable energy crossed 10% in the overall power generation in India.”

    This is all a very new development, and it’s a change that is much nearer the beginning than the end. Why?

    Partly it is favorable governmental policy. While India has quite a bit of coal, meaning that energy self-sufficiency is not a big motivator for them, she does have a really terrible air-pollution problem–one causing much human suffering and economic loss. In addition, India knows that she has much to lose to climate change; heatwaves there can be quite devastating already, and cereal crops are very near their thermal limits, to name just two factors. So, with RE newly affordable, the Modi government has offered enthusiastic policy support.

    “India’s Center for Science and Environment (CSE) reports coal is responsible for 80% of India’s mercury pollution, 60% of airborne particulate matter, 45% of sulphur dioxide emissions, and 30% of nitrogen oxide levels. The Health Effects Institute estimates coal-fired pollution contributed to 169,000 early deaths in 2015 and would contribute to around 1.2 million early deaths in 2050.”

    (See the “Forbes” link, below.)

    But part of it is pure economics, too. The same thing I’ve been pointing out in the US is true in India, as this Forbes article makes very clear:

    The headline says quite a lot already–and by the way, the claim they make is backed up here:

    Their discussion brings us back to capacity factors–but this time, coal plant cf:

    “…lower-than-expected demand growth, ongoing gains in grid and energy efficiency, and record renewable energy installations pushed thermal power sector utilisation rate in India to a decade low in 2016/17. Capacity factors at Indian coal-fired power plants have fallen, from 77.5% in 2010 to an average 62% in 2015/16 and less than 60% in 2016/17… The private sector posted an average plant load factor (PLF) of just 58.5% in 2016/17; many power plants cannot be operated profitably at such low utilisation rates.”

    And the prognosis?

    “India’s draft third National Electricity Plan(NEP3), released in December 2016, covers the next two five-year periods to 2027, and concludes that beyond the half-built plants already under construction, India does not require any new coal-fired power stations over this period. IEEFA’s electricity model supports the NEP3 conclusion.”

    (Preceding quotes from pages 9 & 10 of the linked report.)

    So, India will build out, or more probably *partially* build out the existing coal plant pipeline, then that’s it. And meanwhile:

    “The country’s draft national electricity plan (NEP) calls for renewable energy installs to average 21-22 gigawatts (GW)annually going forward. The economics of renewables have improved dramatically —with both wind and solar costs down 50%in just two years, hovering at about US$0.038 per kilowatt-hour—IEEFA considers this an achievable target. While renewable energy installations are expected to surge, IEEFA forecasts that net thermal power capacity additions are likely to contract tobelow 5 GW annually over the coming decade, held in check by the retirement of highly polluting, end-of-life subcritical coal-fired power plants. IEEFA expects retirements to average more than 2.5 GW. But with coal-fired power plant utilisation rates averaging just 56.7% in 2016/17 and little prospect of this improving over the coming decade, retirements could well accelerate to 4-5 GW annually. Retirement plans are likely to be pulled forward by the reality that solar and wind already are being deployed at scale at tariffs well below those of even existing domestic thermal power generation.”

    In other words, it’s very possible that India will soon be retiring more coal capacity than she builds. Meanwhile, the plan is to bring on lashings of RE, especially solar:

    “India’s… draft National Electricity Plan (NEP) calls for rising demand to be met with 275 gigawatts (GW) total renewable energy capacity by 2027.”

    It’s ambitious, but doable: the target requires annual additions of ~21 GW, and RE brought online in 2018 netted out at 17.6 GW. The gap could be closed with serious effort–and the superior economics of RE provide some good motivation for it, even in the case of *un*-enlightened self-interest.

  12. 62
    Al Bundy says:

    Orig Post: The next figure shows a linear reduction trajectory compatible with this budget.

    AB: Given that reductions increase in difficulty and cost as the low hanging fruit are picked, perhaps “linear” isn’t a realistic selection for your graph. And since someone already whined about that three-legged graph, I’d suggest either leaving out the third “won’t work” leg or making it a third color, say green. Additionally, hatching the two remaining triangles and noting how their areas are the same would add value (if the third color/leg is used point out how the red and green triangles combined swamp the blue triangle). That would visually cement the fact that this is a Peter/Paul scenario where Paul is Peter’s near future self.

    Russell: if Greta Thunberg had any sense she’d skip the ULD racing sled and cross the Atlantic on Sweden’s Star Clipper line, whose five masted flagship generates enough power under sail to light the lights and run the winches, stabilizers and air conditioning.

    AB: Greta is a kid who has happened to become a symbol. Kind of like the Queen of England but without the training. That’s quite a load for a 16 year old without serious resources. And asking her (or anybody under 26) to operate with the sense as someone with a fully-developed mind is a bit much, eh? BTAIM, I had the same thought about the carbon-intensive racing boat and I thank you for the info on the Swedish line.

    Dan Miller: As Jim Hansen said a while ago, the maximum possible safe level of CO2 is 350 ppm. Why are we talking about budgets to take us to further unsafe levels?

    AB: I suspect but I’m not sure we’ve gone above 350ppm yet when one includes the ocean in the carbon budget. If we stop more or less on a dime then CO2 concentrations will start dropping rather quickly (perhaps at almost half the rate they’re now rising). Of course, the permafrost, ice loss, forest fires, and who knows what else will probably be pulling in the opposite direction. And we must not forget the perhaps 0.5C instant increase the planet will see once the aerosol load rains out. As every opioid addict knows, going cold turkey is Hell.

    Everyone, there is a Forced Responses thread. Please use it.

  13. 63
    Raphi Neukom says:

    Great post!
    See also, where you can play with starting dates and different approaches to share the budget among countries. It gives you the data and a figure for each country, but is based on somewhat older data (2014).

  14. 64

    #62, AB–

    Russell: if Greta Thunberg had any sense…

    AB: …carbon-intensive racing boat…

    I think Greta has ample sense, developing brain and all. And “carbon-intensive?” Here’s the description of Malizia that I found:

    The 16-year-old Swede is using the completely emissions-free ocean-going yacht Malizia for this purpose.

    The Open 60 race boat is equipped with solar panels and hydrogen generators for power generation. The Atlantic crossing was offered to Thunberg by Malizia skipper Boris Herrmann from Hamburg, Germany.

    Maybe you’re talking about embodied emissions? Greta’s choices now can’t affect them ex post facto. Or maybe it’s the hydrogen generators; from what I read, though hydrogen can be produced emissions-free, in practice most hydrogen is ‘cracked’ from natgas and is anything but green. Still, I wouldn’t think that that would make the boat “carbon intensive” compared to a diesel- or gas-powered boat, let alone a plane.

    So, “Huh?”

  15. 65

    dp, #53–

    All your deceptive quotes from the press are WITHOUT storage.

    The quotes are not in any way “deceptive”; they are straightforward descriptions of current market trends. What is “deceptive” is your ignorance (or suppression) of context.

    These plants can only function effectively with virtually 100% natural gas backup which is a huge capital cost.

    Completely false. At current penetrations, existing reserve capacity–needed for supply management long before any RE capacity came on line–is quite sufficient. Hence, current adoption trends do not hinge on storage. In the future, that will shift as RE market penetrations increase. Indeed, there are signs of nascent developments in that regard, such as the 409 MW storage plant in Florida. But currently stand-alone solar and wind are much cheaper in terms of LCOE than any other form of new capacity (except, in the US, CC gas), which is why they are so popular right now.

    Read the detailed MIT and Bloomberg reports.

    Uh, dude, I already quoted bits of them back to you, for instance here, as I felt your use of those sources was rather selective. (That’s if you mean the Bloomberg piece and the Joule article by Ziegler et al, linked by “David Young”, not “dpy…”, at #39.) So, obviously I read them.

    If your deceptive numbers were real, you would not need to waste time arguing with me on the internet as simple economics would cause utilities to switch to renewables very quickly.

    As my “deceptive quotes” document, this is in fact happening, whether or not you like or believe it.

    Your unconvincing and deceptive arguments show you lack confidence in your own position.

    Your unwillingness to accept a wide variety of bona fide reporting, apparently simply because it runs contrary to your preconceptions, might be seen as evidence of a certain lack of confidence as well.

    Frankly, you are starting to remind me of a limerick about former Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker:

    Old Dief’s oratical pride
    Flows on, like the ocean’s high tide,
    Or a great river bed,
    One foot deep at the head,
    At the mouth, nearly half a mile wide.

  16. 66
    ClimateCal says:

    Check my math for California, please.

    Calif., at 40 million people, is 0.0052 of the world population of 7.7 billion.
    So we get .0052 of the 2016 Paris carbon budget which RealClimate is calling 800gt, or, 4.16gt (giga=billion, 10 to the 9th – 4,160,000,000.)
    Current(ish) state usage is 424 million/yr (424,000,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2017), and current-ish reduction is 5 million/yr (from 2017 to 2016) (source: .
    (at this rate of 5 million tons/year reduction, it would take 424/5=84 years to get to 0)

    Say the 2016,2017,2018 emissions have been 3 years of 424m emissions, or 1,272,000,000.
    So our remaining co2 budget, as of 1/1/2020, will be 4,160,000,000 – 1,272,000,000 = 2,888,000,000 metric tons. At 2017’s usage rate (424,000,000) we’d exhaust our budget in 6.8 years.

    A linear decline doubles it, to 13.6 years. The reduction each year would be 424,000,000 / 13.6 = 31,200,000 (31.2 million) metric tons reduced per year.

    So next year’s reduction would be is 6x the reduction California is achieving now.

    (As a %, next year we in Calif. would only get to use (424 – 31.2)/424 = 92.5% of what we used this year, and the % reduction per year will get larger each year.)

    What are the conversations that we should be having?

  17. 67
    Dpy6629 says:

    #57 Kevin, This is good news and I will follow these developments in India.

    Generally though I still believe that renewables have been over hyped particularly in advanced countries where dependence on 24/7 electricity is quite strong. I also think the environmental costs of battery production and recycling have been largely overlooked. Another problem is that all batteries have a finite lifetime and degrade a little bit every time they go through a drain/recharge cycle. For example this article considers a car battery at the end of its useful life when it gets to 80% or original capacity.

    One thing I didn’t realize is how sensitive lithium battery lifespan is to temperature.

  18. 68
    ClimateCal says:

    I’m trying to find where you defined ‘budget reach’ but not seeing it, except in the spreadsheet. (It’s the timeperiod if we have a constant-slope reduction, correct?)

  19. 69
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin McKinney: Maybe you’re talking about embodied emissions? Greta’s choices now can’t affect them ex post facto… … Still, I wouldn’t think that that would make the boat “carbon intensive” compared to a diesel- or gas-powered boat, let alone a plane.

    AB: Yes and yes and….

    Russell and I were only comparing the racing boat to the Swedish sailing line. The vehicles you’re bringing to the discussion… well, OK, I’ll bite:

    Using your ex post facto reasoning, as long as she chose a flight that wasn’t packed completely full (flying standby does the trick) her emissions would be negligible. And, of course, the metabolizing of less food during the trip makes the flight less damaging (except to symbolism, and since symbolism is Greta’s primary tool, flying would have been catastrophic).

    And I agree, Greta seems to have a lot of sense. I was telling Russell, “Remember when you were 16? Compare her to your 16-year-old self instead of to your current self.” I’m betting Greta would shine in the comparison. And really, the whole point is that some 16-year-old kid is insisting on doing the right thing while all the “leaders” of the world insist on jet-setting because they’re “too important” to even consider doing the right thing. Heck, Drumpf thinks nothing of burning through $50,000,000(?) and the carbon that represents just to play a round of golf. (Plan the trip, fly a bazillion people to a Drumpf property and charge the government full freight for room and board, shake up the local police and first responders (and stiff them), cheat and lie about his score (read “Commander in Cheat”, a book that discusses Drumpf the golfer), and then get the whole circus back to Washington.)

    Talk about a stark difference in values, eh?

  20. 70
    averna says:

    Thanks for all the important work you do here!

    In 2017 I became an immediate fan of Rockström et al’s “Carbon Law” [half emissions by 2030, half again by 2040, phase-out by 2050] which seemed to be a very easy-to-understand tool for everybody, from individual to politics, companies etc, to reduce one’s own emissions – with the huge advantage that the first step (until 2030) did not seem totally impossible…

    The concept was further developed to the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap:

    It is clear that following this roadmap would be much better than do nothing (like right now); but isn’t it totally flawed already when we take your very generous calculations into account? Not to speak of a more cautious 1,5 degrees-budget or even the approach (which I recently started to believe in myself) that we not have any budget left whatsoever to stay within (KIND OF) a “safe” space?

    Do you think that it still does make sense to communicate the Exp Climate Action Roadmap (to politicians, people … as an somehow “easy to follow” and easy to communicate way), or should we give up on this concept alltogether?

    I ask because I work on a booklet about “what can every single person do”, and I wanted to use the roadmap-approach, which is definitively less scary than what I read here for instance:

    Thanks for inputs!

  21. 71
  22. 72
  23. 73
    O. says:

    Another one: Climate Hoax:

    Der große Temperaturbetrug: Belege für einen Klimahoax stapeln sich

    It’s about homogenisation of data as method of deception.
    They have a lot of such articles there.
    In this article they link to this here:

    Lückenhaltige, unvollständige oder seit langem aufgegebene GISS Wetter-Messstationen – Eine detaillierte Analyse über den Datenbestand aus der Karibik.

    (“GISS Weather Stations – A detailed analysis of the Caribbean data stock – GISS WeathGISS Weather Stations – A detailed analysis of the Caribbean data stock – GISS Weather Stations – Gaps, Incomplete or Long Abandoned. er Stations – Gaps, Incomplete or Long Abandoned.” – translated with via

  24. 74
    averna says:

    O., bitte ersparen Sie uns allen die ermüdenden und unsinnigen “Climate-hoax”-Hoaxes. Die Fakten liegen auf dem Tisch: Es wird heißer, das ist messbar und inzwischen auch weltweit spürbar; und es ist vollkommen evident, dass es im Moment wir Menschen sind, die das Treibhaus so kräftig beheizen.

    Lesen Sie sich mal ein bisschen in die Wissenschaft Komplexer Systeme ein, dann wissen Sie, warum auch Sie als Leugner PANIK SCHIEBEN SOLLTEN.

    Allen komplexen Systemen sind bestimmte, immer gleiche Eigenschaften eigen. Eine davon ist ihre Robustheit. Dh, sie halten trotz aller Knuffe und Puffe unglaublich lange ihr Gleichgewicht. Aber wehe, sie werden über bestimmte Punkte hinaus geknufft. Dann geraten sie ins Kippen. Und kippen meint KIPPEN: Sprich, dann geht alles sehr, sehr schnell, ist kaum noch steuer- oder gar aufhaltbar. Das System wird sich so lange umbauen, bis es ein neues Gleichgewicht erreicht hat, und dieses neue Gleichgewicht sieht völlig anders aus als das, was vorher war. Irreversibel.

    Dieses neue Gleichgewicht sollte uns also wirklich Angst machen. Sprich, wir sollten alles daransetzen, das Kippen, also einen “runaway climate change” zu verhindern – und natürlich auch all der vielen anderen komplexen Ökosysteme auf diesem Planeten. Wir müssen schnell machen, solange wir noch Einfluss darauf nehmen können.

    Wie das geht? Beim Klima müssen v.a. mal die Treibhausgase, die alles anheizen, runter. Und weil wir schon so viele in die Atmosphäre gepumpt haben, müssen sie inzwischen sehr viel schneller runter als noch vor ein, zwei, drei, zwanzig Jahren.

    Und dazu ist nun meine Frage: Reicht die vorgeschlagene “Exponential Climate Action Roadmap” (mit Halbierung bis 2030, weitere Halbierung bis 2040, Phase-out bis 2050) überhaupt noch, oder müssten wir nicht eigentlich viel schneller sein?

  25. 75
    patrick says:

    > “In her recent speech at the French National Assembly, Greta Thunberg rightly made the emissions budget her central issue.”

    Comparing Schellnhuber (speaking in ’17):

    “The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and now director emeritus of the Potsdam Climate Institute.

    In either case, the focus is on the present: Is enough being done now?

  26. 76
    patrick says:

    On the comments here of the guy who brought up Vogue as an excuse to troll his stuff: I’ll take Teen Vogue, first.

    “It’s the Summer of Greta.” August 12.

    Style is always in. I like G. Thunberg’s style of mind, direct style of speech, and style of leadership–which is in preciously short supply. So of course it’s in super demand. And they make up new awards in her honor.

    Don’t miss the minute video of Thunberg thinking on her feet. Game Changer is right.

  27. 77
    O. says:

    @averna, #74:
    Tut mir leid, ich wollte nicht ermüden oder nerven.
    Der Grund, das hier gepostet zu haben war eine leichte Hoffnung, daß es zu den dort angesprochenen Themen bereits Artikel gibt, oder vielleicht einer der deutschsprachigen Experten sich des Themas annimmt und etwas dazu schreiben könnte.

    Mit komplexen Systemen habe ich mich vor etlichen Jahren sehr intensiv beschäftigt, daher ist es mir klar, daß auch Leugner mal darüber nachdenken sollten, ob sie nicht vielleicht falsch liegen.
    PANIK halte ich jedoch grundsätzlich nicht für gut, auch nicht, wenn Greta Thunberg dazu aufruft. Denn Panik blockiert ja ebenso das Denken, ist damit ähnlich wie Ignoranz.
    Bedenken, neu nachdenken und Tatendrang wäre aber sicherlich angebracht (und überfällig).
    Daß die Zeit drängt – und zwar schon seit vielen Jahren – ist mir klar.

    Komplexe Systeme, Rückkopplungen, selbstorganisierende Systeme, Kybernetik, systemisches Denken etc. sind aber (IMHO) leider kein sehr weit verbreitetes Wissen (oder Denkform) in der Durchschnittsbevölkerung.

    Und leider lassen sich manche Menschen, auch welche mit Universitäts-Hintergrund (nicht aus den Naturwissenschaften) von solchen Bloggern wie den von mir verlinkten, hinters Licht führen, da die Artikel dort mit wissenschaftlicher Wortwahl und Scheinargumenten durchtränkt sind. Das sieht wissenschaftlich aus, auch wenn es Cherrypicking und Bullshit ist.
    Wäre gut, wenn man das gezielt nachweisen könnte, indem man die Argumente dort zerpflückt. (Und Experten auf dem Gebiet können das sicherlich vergleichsweise schnell erledigen.)

    Insgesamt wäre es auch sinnvoll, wenn die Klimathematik in mehr formalerer Form und dennoch anschaulich dargestellt würde.
    Also Zusammenhänge in Form von Abhängigkeitsgraphen und Illustrationen.
    (Es gibt einige Illustrationen, ja, ist mir bekannt.)
    Man sollte da IMO auch bereits falsifizierte Dinge mit herein nehmen (mit Einflußfaktor 0), damit man gleich sieht, daß die Dinge, die die Leugner immer wieder (alle paar Jahre immer wieder) aus dem Hut zaubern, alle bereits mitgedacht und geprüft wurden, aber auch schon falsifiziert sind.

    Ich glaube, das würde den Leugnern und Lobbyisten einige Luft raus nehmen, denn sie bauen darauf, daß Laien nicht alles im Überblick haben. (Ist naheliegend, daß Laien nicht jedes Detail kennen.) Mangels Überblick zum Thema verfangen auch immer wieder Behaputungen, wie: die Wissenschaft habe dieses oder jenes nicht berücksichtigt.

    Es ist für Fachfremde / Laien aufwendig nachzurecherchieren, was Experten aus ihrer Sicht als schon lange erledigt ansehen. Gäbe es eine Übersichtsseite, wo das alles eingearbeitet wäre, und auf einen Blick zu sehen wäre (oder als Poster ausdruckbar), könnte man darauf verweisen.
    Ansonsten müssten sich die Laien womöglich mit wenig Zeit nach der Arbeit wochenlang durch lange Artikel wälzen und wüssten womöglich trotzdem noch nicht, was nun wirklich stimmt. Stattdessen ein Blick auf’s Schaubild (welches auch Referenzen enthält), und die Sachlage ist klar.

    Auch die Leugner kommen heutzutage schon mit Popper um die Ecke.
    Dann ein paar exemplarische Gegenstudien und der Laie glaubt ihnen.
    Daher fand ich es z.B. sehr erhellend, mal zu sehen, wie groß der Umfang an existierenden Studien zum Thema bereits ist (und wie viel jährlich dazu kommt).
    Das relativiert die “Gegenstudien” dann doch in ihrem Gewicht.
    Nur wissen das zu wenige Menschen.

    Vielleicht kann man da von Seiten der Experten ja noch etwas an der Darstellung der Sachlage für die Öffentlichkeit verbessern. (Ist nicht als Vorwurf gemeint, sondern als Vorschlag.)

  28. 78
    O. says:

    @averna, #74: Nachtrag:

    “Lesen Sie sich mal ein bisschen in die Wissenschaft Komplexer Systeme ein, dann wissen Sie, warum auch Sie als Leugner PANIK SCHIEBEN SOLLTEN.”

    Sie klassifizieren MICH als Leugner?!

    Da liegen SIE aber völlig falsch!

    Das find ich fast schon eine Beleidigung…

  29. 79
    szopen says:

    What impact will have population growth, the reduced poverty and immigration from third world into first world countries on the carbon emissions? Seems to me that Europe would have to reduce carbon emissions by 10% only to compensate for SSA population growth, solely for keeping global CO2 emissions the same, assuming SSA will have the same per capita CO2 emissions and stable population in Europe (i.e. no rapid growth due to imigration).

  30. 80
    averna says:

    @ O.

    Sorry for the “denialist”; but the links, blogs, keywords you posted just seemed to be the typical denialist messages…

    There is an APP I can recommend for discussions with lay people: “Sceptical Science”

    It does a fairly good job in summarizing and clarifying scientific evidence (not updated on a daily basis though).

    Rahmstorf’s blogs [also in German] are always a brilliant read. He writes a lot about misconceptions and misinformation done by “sceptics” or denialists (f.i. about wrong arguments in German TV).

    But in the end I came to believe: People who still deny are either
    – true denialists: puppets of / paid by / working for the industry (which means, they won’t stop doing it, whatever argument comes up)
    – completely ignorant: uninterested in what is happening around them; not educated; not listening to any news — those people will be hard to reach in any case.
    – true “Verdränger” (“don’t dread to think”): people who are busy with their own problems, don’t think and do not WANT to think that things are that bad etc.

    I don’t believe anymore that missing information is the problem. The facts are all there; those who want to know, will easily find good and simple answers, great explanatory films, easy-to-read articles, etc.

    I think instead of providing more and more information, details, “facts&figures”, we should rather start to give clear advices on what HAS TO BE DONE NOW. And not with sentences like “we should cut emissions in agriculture” — but in detail: What can the single farmer do? What HAS the dairy farmer to do, what the cattle breeder, what…? What goals has a single household to reach? What should be done within five years, and within 10 years, by industry, by companies, by hospitals, by universities…? All that supported by very clear political frameworks, decisions, and binding commitments.

    I believe we don’t have to convince people anymore that the climate catastrophe is unfolding; but that every single action is important – and important today, not next year or in ten years – to slow that process down.

  31. 81
    patrick says:

    # 31 Russell: > “-if Greta Thunberg had any sense she’d skip the ULD racing sled and cross the Atlantic on Sweden’s Star Clipper line…”

    Let’s hear Thunberg herself on that. Talking about the boat at an impromptu Q & A just prior to departure, she said, with accustomed good sense:

    “We have been in contact with several boats, of course, and considered every option, but they [Team Malizia] were the ones who sounded the most sincere and most dedicated.” & “They contacted us because they heard that I was looking for a way to get across the Atlantic Ocean.” (23:50-24:24)

    “Since, as I said, this is such a big and noble issue, which goes beyond [particular] areas, this needs to be tackled from every possible angle. And sports reaches a lot of people, which can be useful in spreading awareness.” (30:21-30:53)

    “I’m just doing this because I want to do this. I am one of the very, very few people in the whole world who actually can do this [having been given the chance]–and then I think that I should take that chance to do this.” (9:10-9:25)

    Skipper Boris Hermann said the trip is about more than crossing the Atlantic, it’s about climate action now–“because this is a race against time, a race we must win.”

    “We are aware that not everyone can sail across the Atlantic on a high tech racing yacht…” (6:40-7:51) More good sense.

    Tracker map with social media posts at various points, more:

  32. 82
    Nemesis says:

    @O., #77

    ” PANIK halte ich jedoch grundsätzlich nicht für gut, auch nicht, wenn Greta Thunberg dazu aufruft. Denn Panik blockiert ja ebenso das Denken, ist damit ähnlich wie Ignoranz.”

    Wenn die Masse wirklich kapieren würde, wo der Hammer hängt, dann käme die Panik todischer von ganz alleine, ganz ohne Greta Thunberg :) Und WENN die Leute aufwachen, dann ist Schluss mit lustig, denn dann werden sie zwangsläufig in Panik geraten und niemand wird sie daran hindern. Wenn es um Wasser und Brot, um’s nackte Überleben geht, dann wird die Klimadebatte engültig obsolet sein und es wird ein grosses und äusserst schmerzhaftes Erwachen im Kochtopf der Natur geben.

    About that strange and boring denier shit you refered to in your comment: Have some fun with some old and boring shit:

    Man kann mit den Leugnern solange diskutieren, wie man will, es hat keinen Sinn. Es gibt halt faktenresistente Menschen , fertig. Und ich bin froh, dass die Naturgesetze davon absolut unbeeindruckt sind. Wenn die Hütte abgebrannt ist, dann ist schlicht und ergreifend Feierabend, auch für die Leugner :) Die Wirklichkeit siegt immer, das ist das Schöne an der Wirklichkeit, auf die Wirklichkeit ist immer Verlass, ganz egal, ob irgendwer die Wirklichkeit leugnet. Ein Hoch auf die unbarmehrzige, unbestechliche, unkorrumpierbare Wirklichkeit!


  33. 83

    #69, #76, #81–

    On Greta:

    Yes, symbolism is a big deal. That’s one reason that Greta is absolutely right not, as Russell suggested, to opt for this:

    As opposed to this:

    Option #1, and she’s instantly just another “limousine liberal”.

    Option #2, and she’s willing to put up with inconvenience and discomfort in order to simultaneously achieve reasonable speed (in line with the urgency of her task) and stay true to her carbon-neutral ideal.

  34. 84
    O. says:

    @Nemesis, #82:
    I linked the “strange and boring denier shit” to get some response from the expertes (those who research in this area since decades and who know the used methods).

    Thanks for the link, but I know the skepticalscience-Blog since a while. They don’t address all arguments from those articles.

    Some of the linked articles do have new “arguments” (or questions which seemed to be used to provoke certain thoughts in the readers mind), which stem from methodological reasoning.

    The questions on the influence of data-homogenisation looks reasonable at first sight, and that’s, why I asked in this blog here and hoped for answer of the experts.

    In those articles they presented some data that supported their arguments. (Or seem to support it.)
    But some days later (after posting here), when I again looked at those articles and looked into the issue closer, I found some other data from the same source, that contradicts what was proposed in their articles.

    And after thinking about some other issues of their articles, it looks to me that they have another mistake (mistake? pupose?) in their arguments. (Also about the data homogenization issue.)
    So it looks like I have arguments to refute what they said (or intended).
    Nevertheless it would be good to have some experts article that address these issues.

    BTW: I answered to your Rilke-quote and quoted the lyrics of a new song from a german band… it was very long…
    …not sure if it will pass here, maybe too off topic?

    So I try again without the lyrics, just the link to the song on youtube:
    Knorkator: Rette sich wer kann

    Regarding Greta Thunberg: I know these issues since decades, so Greta does not bring me new insights. And I’m not religious, so I don’t like, if media create new saints. This is media hype and yellow press style. Self-Greenwashing of the media.
    The same journalists who hype Greta don’t ask the right questions, if they interview the politicians. It’s just a show. “Deutschland sucht den Superstar”.
    The media made Merkel a “Klimakanzlerin” (climate chancellor), which she never was, and which those media idiots could have known since long (many years). They lied to us (I think they knew it) by hyping a ignorant politician as a saint. Now they (the media) tell us they would be interested in the topic – and present Greta. Another saint.

    When the hype is over I think the media will turn back to normal – whatever that may be.
    (That Friday for Future will have an enduring effect is not for sure so far. So I assume it will not.)

  35. 85
    Mr. Know It All says:

    I’m thrilled to read that so many here are gung-ho about switching to renewables, and not just TELLING EVERYONE ELSE to do it, which is the usual leftist method. Everyone, please let us ALL know what steps you have taken to convert to renewables. We’ll wait patiently. Until you’ve actually done something yourself (solar is cheap don’t you know), don’t be telling the rest of us what to do. OK, no more delay – let’s get it started – please post the steps you’ve taken to switch to renewables:

  36. 86
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    I must admit that I don’t believe in this budget strategy. We can calculate until we die, but the uncertainties of these calculations are enormous. Because we are in a situation that the global climate system has probably never seen before. Fx we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere (troposphere) around fifteen times faster than the emissions from volcanism during the underground eruptions leading to the late permian catastrophe 252 ma ago did.

    The only thing we know for sure is this: we need to cut these emissions as fast as possible. Starting now! And we haven’t even started yet. Why not?

    Because “we” are “discussing” budget calculations etc. i.e. our “leaders” are fiddling or even triumphing like Trump while the world burns. We are being taken for a ride.

    I agree with James Hansen that all fossil fuels and coal etc. taken out of the ground will be used. The fundamental problem is that fossil energy is being priced far below it’s real costs. And the market forces can’t do anything else, because the market price don’t reflect future costs to the community.

    What we need to fix that is obviously a fast rising carbon tax, to put the prices in the right direction. But, you say: nobody wants that. Exactly. Because very few have in reality *understood* the fundamental problem, or rather, very few want to understand it. They will just “understand” it…make some fine symbolic gestures in front of the publicity altar and hope good fortune/god/”the market” etc. will do the rest.

    It hasn’t worked and it won’t work. What we need is James Hansens carbon fee and dividend! Greta etc. all need to wake up to politics. Do the democracy thing. Now.

    Read this and sign here:

  37. 87
    patrick says:

    #69 Al Bundy > Russell and I were only comparing the racing boat to the Swedish sailing line.


    Team Malizia and its associated Malizia Ocean Challenge is based on three main pillars: sailing, science and education. During all our sailing trips and races, we contribute actively to ocean research and study the impact of climate change on marine environments by measuring ocean CO2 and other sea surface data with our on-board laboratory. The results are published, made available to scientists and are public. In this context, we run an extensive and well-structured education programme engaging thousands of school children every year and drawing attention to the importance of environmental and ocean protection, the impact of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the world’s oceans. Team Malizia have recently joined the UN-initiative “Sports for Climate Action” proving once more the team’s serious commitment when it comes to environmental responsibility, reducing climate impact and active climate protection. Finally, we recycle our used sails, avoid using plastic and run a completely paperless campaign. We have processed a carbon footprint assessment of our team, which is currently being verified and will be subsequently published.

    We will not have any support vessels travelling with us or accompanying us at sea during the crossing. At the start and finish, we will have Torqeedo RIBs powered by electric engines to assist us during docking manoeuvres as well as to tow Malizia out of and back into port.

    Malizia’s cruising speed is well above 16 knots, the distance from the UK to New York is over 3000 nautical miles long and we will be sailing non-stop over two weeks time in the sea area of the North Atlantic Ocean, making it very difficult if not impossible for a power-driven vessel to travel with us.

    How is the electricity needed to run all the boat’s systems generated?

    Malizia is equipped with a state-of-the-art 1,3kW solar system (see here for more information) and additionally with two hydro-generators, which are permanently installed on the stern of the boat and were specifically designed for IMOCA 60s. With these two independently working systems, we generate more electricity than we actually need on board. Both energy sources allow us to run all the systems and electronics on board continuously – navigation instruments, autopilots, watermakers as well as our SubCtech ocean laboratory. So, we will be able to complete the transatlantic trip fully emission free.

    Has Team Malizia received financial support particularly for taking Greta on board?

    We as Team Malizia have not received any additional funding to do the transatlantic crossing and we have not asked Greta including her team to pay for it. We have decided to offer our services sailing from the UK to New York without use of fossil fuels and dedicate our time and attention to this transatlantic trip. We fully support Greta’s cause and message. Team Malizia are a relatively small team with 5 to 8 specialists working full time at different race periods and we have one of the smaller budgets in the IMOCA class. Additionally, it has to be noted that Team Malizia lease the German-registered boat named Malizia II, an IMOCA 60, which has been purchased 2nd hand by a German owner back in 2016. The boat was originally built in 2015 by Multiplast in Vannes / France.

    Is the transatlantic crossing really zero carbon, given that Greta will be sailing on board a 60ft carbon fibre racing sailboat?

    The leading French sailing magazine Voiles et Voiliers has recently asked the heads of Multiplast boatyard and CDK Technologies about the environmental impact when building an IMOCA 60. To build this type of race boat, 3 tons of carbon fibre, moulds for hull and deck, a number of construction materials and various resins (baked at 120° during the construction process) are needed. Both boatyards are well aware of the resulting and indisputable environmental impact during boat construction and therefore attach great importance on a sustainable building process: Moulds are built with recycled dry carbon fibre and reused for building the hulls and decks of several new boats – not just one, old carbon fibre material is turned into powder and reused in resins for further construction, all sorts of construction materials are recycled and reused on new boats, in addition to continually pursuing sustainable developments in the boat building domain, notably the use of natural fibres. In the end, once constructed, an IMOCA works with the wind, reducing its carbon footprint with every mile sailed.

    Plus more answers on: modifications (zero amenities), meals, safety, the live webtracker, and links with photos on the people, boat, and journey.

  38. 88
    patrick says:

    #31 Russell (2) > -if Greta Thunberg had any sense she’d skip the ULD racing sled and cross the Atlantic on Sweden’s Star Clipper line…

    The question is not whether G. Thunberg should choose to associate her transat crossing with the Star Clipper line, but whether the Star Clipper line wants to recognize her leadership and project, aligning themselves with yet-more progress towards zero carbon and zero ocean trace.

  39. 89
    Al Bundy says:

    Thanks for the info. I was fooled by terminology: the actual boat doesn’t even remotely fit my mental image of a “yacht”.

    Yet again my already high opinion of Greta has been raised.

  40. 90
    Mr. Know It All says:

    87 – patrick

    Interesting comments below your linked article. A few examples:

    #1 – My favorite:
    “If you take away those parts of the boat derived from fossil fuels, what is left?
    Virtue-signalling green blobbery.”

    Q: “How will she come back or will Trump keep her there?”
    A: “more importantly what is the carbon footprint of the crew flying out to take the boat back”

    “Because I am a long distance sailor too and know about those starlit nights, inspiring all sorts of discussions, I am wondering whether little Greta’s ideas are being debated on board: For instance the obvious question how the little girl with the big ego who rarely goes to school has come across the knowledge necessary to decide whether CO2 really influences world climate. I bet nobody on the boat even dares to touch the topic!”

    “Is there any possibility of this kind of ocean crossing becoming commercially available/viable at some stage??”

    I’m guessing #4 occurred around the year 1600, if not sooner. :)

  41. 91

    #90, KIA–

    So, you have a fondness for unsubstantiated slander attempting to pass as witticism.

    Why am I not surprised?

  42. 92

    KIA 85: please post the steps you’ve taken to switch to renewables:

    BPL: I’m getting 100% of my electricity from wind and solar. Your turn.

  43. 93
    averna says:

    Changing to renewables? Very hard indeed!

    I don’t have a car (never had one), take the train, never flew much, will probably not fly anymore. I changed my electricity supplier to “Ökostrom” (eco electricity), wherever it might come from…

    But I have NO IDEA how I should switch to renewable heating. I live in a typical “Altbau” (3story-house built around 1910) with gas heating. I have quite ok windows and don’t raise temp above 20°C in winter. But there is no way, at least none that I am aware of, to get the heating done by other means than gas – unless the city would suddenly construct and provide alternative modes for heating for such houses. (They start to, but the supply is FAR from covering the needs).

    Private housing is difficult too.

    My mother f.i. uses oil for heating her house (60ies). We just tried to figure out alternatives. Hence, all available possibilities need such huge investments and a total remodelling of the house (f.i. replacement of all floors to install floor heating, if we changed to solar power or heat exchange [don’t know the word: where you get heat from the ground outside]), that it is simply not feasible without lottery winnings.

    Mobility, yes. Cutting meat and all other ways of consumption, yes.

    But I really do not have a clue – and nobody out there was able to give me one yet! – how the necessary phase-out should possibly work with millions of old buildings and appartments in the world that depend on oil, gas or – oh my God! – coal… Neither do I know how we should provide all the cooling that will be necessary in the future without skyrocketing the energy demand.

    I know that there are great options for those who have financial reassources. But for the majority of people like my mom (or me), people with normal or low incomes; with rented appartments; with houses that are in good shape apart from the heating issue? Politics as well as all the political advisory papers and studies prefer to stay VERY vague when it comes to such details. In most countries they don’t even put great pressure on those who construct new buildings – I find it outrageous indeed that sero-emission-constructions are not mandatory since years!

    But what’s about the other 90++ percent who live in existing appartments and houses? How should they manage the change within reasonable time and costs???

  44. 94
    averna says:


    Having said so, I want to add:

    It is the cheapest excuse indeed to always point at others and cry: “You do not do EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE THING yourself; so don’t dare to tell me I should change a little bit of my lifestyle!”

    The world is burning exactly because of that kind of arguments.
    That kind of arguments have to end.

    We all need to contribute to the one and only goal: to safe emissions, the faster, the better.

    Most of us try our best. Some do more, some do less. So what? It does not matter if the non-emitter is an ambitious person like Greta or somebody like, say, Donald T. (although this would rather be a surprise… ;-) ). It is the sum of all greenhouse gases that counts in the end – either on the positive side or on the negative.

  45. 95
    William B Jackson says:

    No# 91 It is his stock in trade along with silly lies!

  46. 96
    zebra says:

    #92 and #93 averna,

    Very good comments.

    You are correct that the transition to “zero emissions” is not going to happen in 30 or 50 years, for the reasons you give about infrastructure, among others. And you are also correct that this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying as hard as possible to reduce emissions as rapidly as possible.

    If you have gas for heating and cooking, that would be a low priority to replace, because it is more efficient than burning gas to get electricity. Eventually, sure, but many other things come first.

    With respect to oil heat, one option is biofuel, where the source is at least relatively carbon-neutral. Also, older detached houses can have improved insulation at moderate cost. If there is clean electricity available, the oil consumption can be reduced by using space heaters or a booster for the central system. Again, relatively low investment.

    And you are exactly right to be outraged that new construction is not subject to much stricter regulation. This is absurd because the cost difference is just not that much to get, if not “zero” emissions, much, much less. But here in the US that industry is incredibly corrupt and powerful.

  47. 97
    O. says:

    @averna, #94:

    “It is the cheapest excuse indeed to always point at others and cry: “You do not do EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE THING yourself; so don’t dare to tell me I should change a little bit of my lifestyle!””

    “That kind of arguments have to end.”

    What you propose here is a kind of totalitarism and gainst free speech.

    Not this kind of arguments has to end, but we need to be aware of the arguments – and that they are lame excuses for doing nothing.

    Idiotic arguments will come up again and again. Thats part of human nature.
    No problem if it’s easy to find out they are foolish.
    ANd it must clearly be stated that they are.

    Forbidding other people to say (even foolish) things is the beginning of dictatorship.
    Using reasoning and logic and say that they are nonsense is the way to go, IMO.

  48. 98

    #97, 94–

    What about arguments that are not merely foolish, but willfully misleading and deceptive? That are made in an utter absence of good faith?

    I suppose they would be covered by “it must clearly be stated that they are.”

    That is, ‘calling them out?’

  49. 99
    save_ecosystems says:

    The ideal of profit maximization should be replaced by eco-sufficiency and sustainability. The degrowth movement offers solutions: Stop the production of unnecessary goods, limit the consumption to the minimum, repair, reuse, establish circular economy, precycle and upcycle. This will reduce CO2-emissions. . Most of the environmental damages are caused by overconsumption, overproduction, greed and wastefulness.

  50. 100

    #99, s_es:

    The ideal of profit maximization should be replaced by eco-sufficiency and sustainability.

    Supposing it “should”–and I’m considerably more sympathetic to the notion, I suspect, than most everyday folk–how “can” it be so replaced?

    Killian has pointed out, correctly, that communities do exist that seek to live this ideal in practical ways, or at least to lay the groundwork for such lifeways. Many have failed, but some seem to be doing well.

    Yet it can’t be denied, I think, that such communities are far from mainstream acceptance today–by which I mean that most people are not only unwilling (presently) to live so, but that they don’t even see why such a choice might be valid, let alone desirable.

    How would you suggest that this be changed?