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Forced responses: Feb 2020

Filed under: — group @ 8 February 2020

This month’s open thread on climate solutions.

527 Responses to “Forced responses: Feb 2020”

  1. 51
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Al Bundy,
    Lived in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer (Togo) and traveled quite a bit in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Kenya and Tanzania.

    Traveled in China for a couple of months when they were just opening up to tourism–that was an experience.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Brazil, Sri Lanka, India and Madagascar. Some time in Central America, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Nepal.

  2. 52
    Killian says:

    Ever wondered why growth cannot be the core paradigm of human civilization? Remember the parable of the Chinese emperor, the advisor, the chessboard and starting with a single grain of rice on the first square and doubling with each square, or 64 times? Ever wondered how many grains of rice that would be?

    9,223,372,036,854,780,000 or 7,067,718,035,904 bushels or 252,073,573,021 tons.

    The world produces 700,000,000 tons a year.

    Consider the implications of one person owning absurd amounts of any resource.

  3. 53

    R 32: I agree that reduction should be encouraged, but I have yet to see a solution that is not heavily regressive, i.e. paid for on the backs of the poor.

    BPL: Put a heavy tax on CO2 emissions and rebate the money collected, in equal amounts, to each household. That way CO2 emissions are still reduced, but the poor tend to be better off. This is called “fee and dividend.”

  4. 54

    E-P 41: I keep saying that “renewables” are not the solution. They’re not even A solution.

    BPL: You keep saying all kinds of things, but fortunately, most of us know better than to take you seriously.

  5. 55

    Joseph Zorzin writes @34:

    What’s needed is to do the opposite of the past high grading. Remove the least healthy trees and retain the best- and hopefully the best will be more resilient. Research is being done to deal with insect problems.

    You are getting very close to Frank Shu’s prescription in https://web.archive.org/web/20170120030329/http://2262-presscdn-27-11.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/Molten-Salt-Technology-to-Address-Tree-Mortality-by-Bark-Beetle-Infestation.pdf

    @42:  Another ankle-biter heard from.  This is why I wear steel-toed boots.

  6. 56
    Joseph Zorzin says:

    nigelj #30

    “if we dont “lock up” forests they don’t sequester carbon usefully”

    It’s not that simple. Degraded forests can’t sequester carbon as fast as health forests. Much of the forest in the USA northeast- has been degraded. Good silvicultural practices can improve the health of the forest. Also, wood products from timber harvests become a carbon sink. If we lock up too much forest- that doesn’t reduce the demand for forest products- it will just move the source of the harvesting- often to places with poor or no regulations. Some forests should be locked up- like other ecosystems- for good ecological reasons or for park land- but with 7,000,000,000 people on the planet, we do need to produce wood products- which have a lower carbon footprint for construction purposes than steel and cement. Or, I suppose we could all decide to live in mud or straw huts. Any volunteers for that option?

  7. 57

    Part of the fun of posting here is watching the utterly deranged responses I get to sensible but outside-the-Overton-window statements; the reactions to things that everyone can see are true but they are forced to deny by social taboo are a hoot.  Al Bundy provides a textbook example @35:

    EP: No PRINCIPLED person can be pro-environment and not be anti-immigration.

    AB: My definition of “environment” includes the whole planet. So, immigration into my environment would require actual aliens.

    Thank you for showing just how easily “social justice” overrides reasoning faculties.  It’s not innate like the patellar reflex, but you still can’t help yourself.  (BTW, he’s referring to comment 842 in the previous thread.)

    Your solution, “Separate and unequal” fails because we can’t separate the ocean and atmosphere.

    But that’s precisely the point!  If they come here, their emissions explode and this affects the whole world.  At the same time, they tie us up with social strife which keeps us from getting our own house in order.  Their depressing effect on wages alone keeps people focused on survival rather than bigger issues; they literally cannot afford to think about fixing the climate.

    If you’re right “they’d” end up exploiting fossils and “our” clean little nuclear minority would accomplish essentially zero climate-wise.

    So you’re admitting that they don’t actually give a damn about the climate, and we do?  Why should we let any of them come here and out-vote us on this issue of literally planetary importance?

    IF a majority of humanity burns fossils and reproduces like rabbits THEN the thrift of a low-reproduction nuclear minority means squat.

    Now who just said we can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet, even to the point of un-recyclable composites?  Claiming this about wind turbines while refusing to apply it to human populations is very Politically Correct, but it’s also totally insane.  Political Correctness literally breaks your brain.

    In other words, your solution requires extermination based on geography. Perhaps you should consider repeatedly euthanizing everyone with a sub-100 IQ worldwide instead.

    Did I mention “deranged”?  I’m sure I did.

    Al, you said it, not me.  Pretty much all we need to do is (a) prevent third-worlders from coming here (removing the ones we’ve got would be a huge help, as net emissions would plummet and our own problems would become proportionally easier to solve) and (b) stop selling them stuff that uses fossil fuels.  They mostly can’t build those things themselves; there are many examples of them being unable to maintain the ones they have.  Alternatively, demand that they pay for mining, crushing and spreading enough dunite to remove the emissions they cause.  A great many third-world countries are unable to so much as feed themselves and rely on aid.  Telling them “one baby per woman or no food, and BTW you can’t come to the West” would put things in rather stark relief and start dealing with the problem at the source.  If it’s okay for China to do it, it’s okay for India and Nigeria too.

    FWIW, the population of the entire continent of Africa in 1900 was slightly over 100 million; in 1950 it was roughly 200 million.  About 4 out of 5 living Africans literally owe their lives to Western advances, maybe 9 in 10.  Some “racism”, huh?

  8. 58

    Kevin McKinney writes @37:

    Mitigation in Vietnam….
    To be clear, this is mitigation compared with a really bad alternate history.

    26.4 GW existing and under construction, as much as another 22 GW still planned… and only 12 GW of intermittent PV expected by 2030.

    Oh, for a scenario that leads to an actual *reduction* in emissions!

    Vietnam was considering a nuclear build but cancelled plans in 2016 to go with coal and natural gas instead.

    Honestly, the planet would be much better off if we had all built RBMKs instead.  Even if we had a Chernobyl a year, it would have far fewer ill effects than just the non-GHG emissions from coal.  Sobering thought, no?

    @45:  Not duplicates, I screwed up the superscript on the first one.

    If you read the story, it’s pretty clear that it is poorly-designed regulation that is the real issue, not renewable energy.

    No it isn’t.  There’s nothing in the story that says that e.g. the SCR systems would work just as well at idle as at design power, only that the extra stops and starts are definitely making things MUCH worse.

  9. 59
    Russell says:

    Kevin #44. To put it simply – look at the dotted line. Current temperatures are below the dotted line. If you don’t know the answer it’s usually just best to say, “It’s beyond my understanding.”

  10. 60

    In re: Kevin McKinney @45#:  Upon re-examination of the article, you are not just wrong, you are completely backwards.  FTA:

    Without any solar power in the mix, “a typical combined cycle combustion turbine emits NOx at approximately 9-11 lb/hr, assuming 24 hours of ‘normal’ operation,” Crawford said. That is equivalent to 264 pounds of NOx emissions daily. When those same plants are operated to supplement solar power facilities, daily emissions more than double to 624 pounds a day, based on a table in Duke’s application.

    If DEQ agrees to Duke’s alternative operating scenario, a combustion turbine would emit 381 pounds of NOx daily — still 44% more pollution than operating without any solar power on the grid.

    I have trouble wrapping my mind around the details that have to underlie the increase in emissions associated with ramping to support PV.  I’m sure it’s really arcane stuff, involving flame temperatures vs. excess oxygen vs. carbon monoxide and everything else in combustors designed for particular operating conditions that they are now required to operate well away from.  But Duke Power says they’ve got measured results contrary to the claims of the “environmentalists”, and while I’d demand to have them re-measured I say we should take them seriously in the mean time.

  11. 61
    patrick027 says:

    re 31 Killian
    Error: The solutions to climate can be via economics. Fallacy: Resources are not limited; consumption is not important.

    But portions of the rest of what you wrote suggest you agree with using a price on pollution as part of the solution…

    Humans tend to value things/etc., and want to get more for less. Not all is measured with money, but all value includes that which is measured with money – you can’t buy love, but you can buy chocolate, which may become a part of the expression of love; ie. the best things in life are free, but you need to buy stuff (or do some equivalent in a bartering system or do labor in a self-sufficient system) in order to have access (you need food and water, and air…)…

  12. 62
    patrick027 says:

    … and so economics is important. It is erroneous to assume that all economic analysis is doomed to make the same false assumptions that many economists have made, or appear to have made eg. perpetual growth. (or is that not what you were implying?)

    and so forcing the public cost of an action be paid for by the benificiaries of said action makes perfect sense –
    1. it does incentivize a shift in demand toward the alternatives (including efficiency and lifestyle changes)
    2. it incentivizes investment (including invention – PS I’m not just talking about ‘investors’ eg stockholders, I mean anything that serves as investment) toward such alternatives (and divestment from the problematic activities), so that the supply also shifts – which will ameliorate what the shift in demand would do to prices (eg shift in demand drives prices of alternatives up, prices of the taxed industry(‘s products/services) down; but the other shifts work against this, so that the whole economy can continue to shift in the desired direction)

  13. 63
    patrick027 says:

    … that being said, I realize real markets are not ideal, etc, etc. and so I would support additional policies. But the pricing of pollution is crucial in that it provides confidence that the alternatives that succeed in the market are truly clean(er) – ie we didn’t miss something and accidentally rely on fossil fuels in the making of the clean alternative (as has happened with US corn ethanol)…

    Likewise, we shouldn’t abandon other environmental, animal, consumer and worker protections, welfare, etc. – ie. the policies, properly balanced, will encourage that which is truly all-around better. (re 22 Joseph Zorzin, I like solar power and actually think it’s one of the more aesthetically pleasing options, but I do not mean to advocate for deforestation in its name.)

  14. 64
    patrick027 says:

    … I’m not worried much about the dividend going toward the rich – okay, I haven’t read the specific paper, so pardon me if I’m off-base, but the version I’m familiar with is an equal per capita dividend (smaller for chidren, maybe) – thus to the extent the rich are more responsible for the emissions, the policy would have the effect of redistributing wealth toward the poor.

    Good point about (house) renters, though. Incentives have to be transferred to those who make the decisions.

    Other policies I support –
    public support for R&D, and deployment of emerging industries of public benefit (because: mass-market advantage and learning curves)
    some portfolio and regulatory policies – eg. mandating some fraction of new buildings (depending on local resource and building type, and landscaping?) be built with solar (esp. hybrid PV installations where the waste heat is used for water or space heating) and passive solar design, etc.

  15. 65
    patrick027 says:

    … because I assume that would reduce the soft-costs of residential/non-utility solar installations.

    and of course efficiency standards for appliances, light bulbs, cars…

  16. 66
    patrick027 says:

    Also, more efficient design of neighborhoods (so people don’t get trapped into relying on cars so much), and public transportation… etc. Good community design is hard to apply retroactively but maybe adding walkways (“Adam Ruins Suburbs”,”Adam Ruins Cars”)… hey, wouldn’t moving sidewalks be cool – like the things at the airport. They could be parallel lanes, the fastest on the inside, you can step from one to another… but the maintanence costs for something like that outdoors… oh, well.

    But for all those places expanding from the population growth in the pipeline, we can do it better.

  17. 67
  18. 68
    nigelj says:

    A couple of interesting new media articles:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-07/britain-is-getting-ready-to-scale-up-negative-emissions-technology

    “Britain Is Getting Ready to Scale Up Negative-Emissions Technology”

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-csiro-aemo-study-confirms-wind-solar-and-storage-beat-coal-gas-and-nuclear-57530/

    “New CSIRO, AEMO study confirms wind, solar and storage beat coal, gas and nuclear”

  19. 69
    Thomas says:

    Quote: “I think in a word: Catastrophic”

    (Australia) Wildfires with wild numbers: fact checking a catastrophe
    Download 35.60 MB 25 Mins Audio

    During this Summer’s bushfires, numbers have been everywhere, and they have been overwhelming. 12.6 million hectares burnt, 431 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted, over one billion animals killed.

    But where do these numbers come from, and are they for real?

    Sum of All Parts host, science journalist Joel Werner, joins Natasha on Science Friction to fact check the fire season.
    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sciencefriction/16.1-fact-checking-the-fire-season/11962758

    — —
    Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel:
    ‘All problems can be solved but this is a complex problem’
    By Sabra Lane on AM Download 2.72 MB 5 mins Audio

    Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel says the link between climate change and the summer of bushfires is clear and unless long term action is taken, the fires will be repeated and continue to worsen.
    Broadcast: Wed 12 Feb 2020
    https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/all-problems-can-be-solved-but-this-is-a-complex-problem/11956688

    — —
    A calm rational simple approach to explaining a very complex Energy problem.

    Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel delivers a Press Club address on the topic : ‘Planned Obsolescence – Managing the Transition to the electric planet’.

    This episode was published 4 days ago, available until 1:30pm on 13 Mar 2020. 1 hour Video
    https://iview.abc.net.au/show/national-press-club-address

  20. 70
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin: If you read the story, it’s pretty clear that it is poorly-designed regulation that is the real issue, not renewable energy.

    AB: But if one’s warrant is to trash renewables facts need to be massaged, twisted, and ignored appropriately. That there is ZERO requirement but only greed and averice driving the decision to increase NOX pollution doesn’t merit notice when one’s goals are set in stone.

  21. 71
    Killian says:

    “To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences.”

    —Thomas Piketty

    https://twitter.com/jasonhickel/status/1229072948423798784

  22. 72
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @48, what you have described is pretty much carbon fee and dividend anyway. The differences are just that carbon fee and dividend returns rebates to everyone purely to try to make it more politically palatable, and it can apply to anything with high carbon content. Carbon fee and dividend is not ideal, but its a pretty damn good idea in an imperfect world.

  23. 73
    nigelj says:

    https://climatecrocks.com/2020/02/10/new-video-aridification-australias-new-normal/

    Something quite good on the possible human fingerprint on the droughts and bushfires in S Australia.

  24. 74
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian:There is nothing accurate nor germane in

    AB: your comments

    Killian: Next time I’ll post on

    AB: more irrelevancies. Got it. You provide zero functional value. Damn, dude. We all got you to walk up to the edge of reality and you saw ___ and ran away.

    As I said, you REFUSE to provide anything of value. My guess is that you don’t have a holistic design to provide so you arereducedto insults and spouts.

  25. 75
    Al Bundy says:

    mrkia: , why not just add a tax to each gallon of gasoline sold? The mechanism exists, will not cost an extra penny to implement, and they can give rebates to people who make less than say $30,000 for singles and $60,000 for families?

    AB: Apparently you’ve never heard of the concept of ‘equality’. Who the f cares about how wealthy someone is? O, that’s right. You. Thus, you design systems that descriminate based on wealth and then scream about the descrimination your proposed systems produce.

    Did you ever earn (as opposed to being given) an “A” in school?

  26. 76
    nigelj says:

    KM @70 on the UV thread.

    “But yeah, I think the ‘conversion’ might indeed be pretty lethal. And honestly, I’m kind of squeamish about that.”

    You are not wrong. Imho the conversion away from capitalism and towards novel communities based on shared ownership, low tech and low energy use, and at speed and at scale could cause a transition phase leading to a massive economic depression as demand is sucked out of the existing system, leaving many millions of people destitute or worse. Said it before.

    You could say goodbye to the worlds forests as scaling back modern technology makes us hugely reliant on timber for building and energy, and abandoning industrial agriculture too rapidly could cause a crash in production and starvation. The trouble is the current system is rather delicately balanced.

    The future has big potential challenges, but there is no tenable future problem that justifies a plan with consequences like that. Whatever change happens will need to be slow and careful, although the case is made for more rapid adoption of climate friendly things like flying less and lower meat consumption and electric cars and capping the level of consumption of resources and energy (in some places at least). I think our civilisation and its economy could absorb that level of change and remain stable.

  27. 77
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: There’s nothing in the story that says that e.g. the SCR systems would work just as well at idle as at design power, only that the extra stops and starts are definitely making things MUCH worse.

    AB: So you’re saying that it is impossible to shunt excess production to fuel creation? That doing things as destructively and inefficiently as possible is the only alternative to doing it your way? Why?

    I’m thinking that a law prohibiting NOX creation would dunk your argument in the toilet.
    _______

    EP: you’re admitting that they don’t actually give a damn about the climate, and we do?

    AB: Please don’t channel a sub-genius. People care about climate and they focus on personal. Focus wins, regardless of race. And your belief that non-whites are so inept that they will never be able to dig up and burn coal is laughable.
    ______

    Joseph Z: I suppose we could all decide to live in mud or straw huts. Any volunteers for that option?

    AB: Killian volunteers everyone except Killian.
    _______

    Joseph,
    Solved and put into production.
    Mother tree forestry is Standard Operating Procedure outside of the USA (in countries populated by EP’s preferred people). Keep the best and harvest the rest. QED.

    EP: Thank you for showing just how easily “social justice” overrides reasoning faculties.

    AB: Thank you for showing how folks overlay their senses with their biases. I said nothing that even remotely talks like that. I have never spoken online about my racial beliefs. Unlike you, I’m wise enough to not lick my fingers and grab the third rail.

    EP: that’s precisely the point! If they come here, their emissions explode and this affects the whole world.

    AB: I’ve never seen a claim that colored immigrants spew more carbon than white descendants of immigrants. Do you have a point? Seriously, given your nuclear-but-only-here solution, why not cram as much of humanity into your non-destructive tribe? Folks left out in the cold tend to burn the furniture. Kill or sterilize works. You got another non-inclusive solution? Or are you certain that non-whites are so stupid that they will never figure out door knobs? Spit it out, Clem.

    Here’s a clue: the Bell Curve works, which means that even in a Stupid Population some folks exist who can read, understand, and build a White Man’s Invention.

    EP: you said it, not me.

    AB: Folks, have you ever heard those words come from a clean mouth? EP, you are inept. Only a person with an N-word level of wisdom would say such doofusness.

    Just be honest. Your path would result in the need to exterminate Others, resulting in a Better World. So go whole hog. It’s not like our White Lives wouldn’t improve by eradicating inferiors.

    EP: Now who just said we can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet,

    AB: Not me. Humans are of limited size and can tolerate limited acceleration. Thus, beyond current first world conditions “growth” is about virtual, not physical. Stop painting me with your opponents’ colors. I’m into brains, not brawn. Increase my growth by a factor of a bazillion and my energy consumption goes up a teensy bit.
    ___________

    Patrick: Good point about (house) renters, though. Incentives have to be transferred to those who make the decisions.

    AB: Yep. I’ve repeatedly said the same. If rent is required to include 75% of expected utilities and loans are required to count energy costs the same as capital costs then lots of good things result at negative cost.

  28. 78
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray,
    You impress me and I’d like to interact with you. Whatever your current thing is I’d love to contribute without regard to compensation. If you rate me higher than the typical internet doofus contact me at
    ManyAndVaried@hotmail.com and I’ll give you my real address.

  29. 79

    Dan Miller writes @50:

    For emissions, it doesn’t matter how people spend their dividends… the fee is what makes fossil fuels expensive so people, companies, etc. will choose lower cost clean energy solutions.

    And even more to the point, emissions costs don’t get hidden under arbitrary “portfolio standards” which require X amount of “RE” without counting externalities.

    Under Fee and Dividend, the bottom 70% of households (all the poor and most of the middle class) make more on the dividend than they pay in higher prices due to the fee.

    Not sure about this.  Direct costs, sure, but the carbon fees get priced into all goods and services as well.  (Which is the point.)  Exactly how this shakes out is something I’ve not read any solid details on yet.

  30. 80
    zebra says:

    #59 Russel,

    I would be happy to answer your question, but this is the wrong thread– FR is for discussing approaches to reduce CO2 and stuff like that. Check over on Unforced Variations for my response.

  31. 81

    Russell, #59–

    Kevin #44. To put it simply – look at the dotted line. Current temperatures are below the dotted line.

    Here’s the graph, for convenience:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_climatic_optimum#/media/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    No, current temperatures are NOT below the dotted line. Current temperatures are in the vicinity of spot on the right edge of the graph marked “2016.” The reason for that is that when you have a graph showing tens of thousands of years in a couple of inches, a decade or two will be invisible; it’s just too short to show up. That is precisely why they added in the notation of the 2016 temperature.

    If you don’t know the answer it’s usually just best to say, “It’s beyond my understanding.”

    Oh, the irony! I know the answer, and I’ve explained it to you several times now. Is it indeed “beyond [your] understanding?” Or are you just not trying to understand?

  32. 82

    #60, E-P–

    If (as I did) one goes to the original article, from which the linked source merely excerpted, one finds considerable detail which clarifies the questions about the Duke study in North Carolina. Original story:

    https://nsjonline.com/article/2019/08/duke-energy-application-points-finger-at-solar-for-increased-pollution/

    First, the article makes clear that CO2 emissions have been lowered by the solar power on the grid:

    …reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could also reverse if current solar growth continues without policy changes.

    Allegedly, NOX emissions have increased, but the net radiative forcing is nowhere quantified in the article.

    As to the policy issue:

    In response to public records requests, DEQ released documents showing Duke is seeking revisions to its air quality permits. Duke wants regulators to relax restrictions at several of its power plants to handle the surge of solar growth…

    Under its current permits in the heavily regulated market, Duke must completely shut down the backup combustion turbines when solar peaks under a full sun, then restart them when the sun recedes.

    Duke wants DEQ to issue new permits allowing combustion turbines to throttle up and down from a “low load” idling operation instead of switching completely off and on as solar waxes and wanes. In its permit applications Duke said that would lower pollutant emissions and reduce stress on equipment.

    In other words, the NOX issue can be mitigated, to a large degree, with relatively simple policy changes.

    The problem will also be mitigated by the ongoing addition of energy storage, which the story ‘strangely’ fails to mention at all. For instance:

    https://www.utilitydive.com/news/north-carolina-energy-storage-market-could-exceed-1-gw-by-2030-says-study-b/543722/

    I put “strangely” in single quotes because the space given to pure anti-renewable rhetoric from the likes of “Steve Goreham, a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute” and “Dan Kish, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research.”

    The IER’s “warrant”, as zebra likes to put it, is on full display at their website, where the current top article ends thus:

    Conclusion

    The global warming debate begins—but does not end—with physical science. And a review of mainstream climate science, complemented by mainstream climate economics, unmasks the fallacy of settled alarm in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—and more recently.

    Today, the debate over physical climate change roars. If the uncertainties were not great enough within the IPCC, dissident scientists gathered as the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) have issued their own weighty volumes emphasizing natural, not manmade, climate forcing and the benefits of CO2.

    Still, taking the IPCC’s “consensus” at face value, the wide range of sensitivity estimates from the enhanced greenhouse effect, ranging from a positive externality at the lower end to a negative externality at the upper end, awaits further clarification.

    In other words, they’re shills disseminating FUD for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. (In this case, they’re in Judy Curry mode.) The “North State Journal” appears to have considerable appetite for such.

    So, yeah, take the information released from Duke seriously. If there’s an unexpected increase in NOX, we want to know that. But we need to be aware that the problem is being cast in misleading and incomplete ways, because the principal sources upon which the the reporter relied were fully engaged in some serious anti-renewable axe-grinding.

  33. 83

    E-P, #45–

    Vietnam was considering a nuclear build but cancelled plans in 2016 to go with coal and natural gas instead.

    Indeed they were, and indeed they did. Why was that?

    In November 2016 Vietnam decided to abandon nuclear power plans as they were considered “not economically viable because of other cheaper sources of power”, by the Vietnamese government. The Ninh Thuận price had risen from 4 to 8 US cents per kWh, reflecting a project cost of VND400 trillion (US$18 billion) or higher. With a public debt at around 65% of Gross domestic product, Vietnam would struggle to finance the plants.

    Now, who has been pointing out that the problem with nuclear is that people keep deciding that they can’t afford it?

    Oh, yeah. Me.

    From an emissions POV we might well wish that the decision had been otherwise. However, “if wishes were horses…” In the current context, note that solar is displacing fossil precisely because it *can* compete economically. And based on scaling effects alone, solar will continue to compete more and more effectively over time.

  34. 84

    AB, #70–

    AB: But if one’s warrant is to trash renewables facts need to be massaged, twisted, and ignored appropriately.

    Indeed. And it’s quite clear that that was the warrant of the primary sources quoted in the stories, as I noted in a previous comment. Kish & co. are professional denialati; contrary to E-P’s paranoid fantasies, such are virtually always anti-renewable activists these days, precisely because renewables are now the biggest threats to the vested interests of Big Fossil.

  35. 85
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: Consider the implications of one person owning absurd amounts of any resource.

    AB: OK, progressive taxation is a good thing. Do you have a point that hasn’t already been solved by billions of people who are WAY smarter than you?

  36. 86
    Al Bundy says:

    Patrick: Other policies I support –
    public support for R&D,

    AB: Agreed, as long as the results are owned by the inventor and the taxpayer, not the capitalistic leeches who currently get everything. Seriously, the government, inventors, and universities create almost all advances and then give leeches almost all of the rewards because _____?

  37. 87
    Killian says:

    Re #85 anklebiter2 said billions of people who are WAY smarter than you

    Actually, it’s at most 150,000,000, if I’m the last person in my percentile. I really should have skipped 5th grade when they suggested I do it. I never loved school, figured it would mean I’d actually have to study to catch up a year and be on par with the sixth graders.

  38. 88
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: There is nothing accurate nor germane in your response.

    AB: It was an effing question. If you had a clue you’d give an answer. Since you deflected EVERYONE believes you are clueless. Care to try again, whiffer? The golf ball is still right in front of you even after your ‘mighty’ swing.

    I’m generous, so I’ll give you a mulligan.

  39. 89
  40. 90
    zebra says:

    #86 Al Bundy,

    “because____”

    Here’s why. Speaking as someone who actually “invented” something, as opposed to just playing inventor on the internet:

    I actually got to the point where I was manufacturing my equipment and selling it (to universities, in fact). But that is not the same as having and growing a successful business.

    Because I was paranoid about “having my ideas stolen”, I turned down an offer from someone who actually knew WTF he was doing in terms of marketing and providing capital. And while I was doing what I am good at and enjoy…coming up with new ideas, and realizing them physically one-off… and ignoring the boring stuff… the business went nowhere, and technology passed me by.

    Research, and development, even when it is done by governments, requires capital and organization. Capital is what feeds the research scientists who don’t have the time or skills to grow their own food, (unlike Killian, who no doubt does it in between the endless production of endless words consuming endless bandwidth and energy.)

    And you also need administrators, and plug-and-chug engineers like EP, and code monkeys like you, and janitors, to keep the lab clean.

    That’s just reality, sorry. It has never been different; progress is a messy business.

  41. 91

    AB, #86–

    Seriously, the government, inventors, and universities create almost all advances and then give leeches almost all of the rewards because _____?

    I know, I know! Because the ‘leeches’ have purchased the hearts, souls and gonads of a plurality of legislators, administrators, and sundry officials? (OK, OK, sometimes a lease arrangement works out better for the leech. Details!)

  42. 92

    Mitigation on a global scale:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/02/17/good-news-usa-has-largest-co2-reduction-in-the-world/

    The USA had the largest CO2 reduction in the world in 2019 on a country basis (as an entire economic bloc, the EU had a greater CO2 reduction)… US emissions are down almost one gigatonne from their peak in 2000…

    Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down in 2019 by around 33 gigatonnes after two years of increases. The IEA says that this came from a sharp decline in CO2 emissions from the power sector in advanced economies and credits the role of renewable sources (wind and solar).

    (Emphasis added, and some rearranging of content done.)

    Moreover:

    Germany led the decline in emissions in Europe, which saw its emissions fall to a level that hasn’t been seen since the 1950s: 620 megatonnes. It should be noted that the last time Germany saw such a low amount of carbon emissions its economy was 10 times smaller than it is now.

    Japan also saw its energy-related CO2 emissions fall 4.3%, its fastest pace of decline since 2009.

    So much for the “Germany isn’t cutting emissions” rhetoric. Their grid continues to be quite stable, too, with a ‘System Average Interruption Duration Index’ value just a quarter of that posted by France, for instance.

    In the case of Japan, there have been two factors at work. First, they’ve restarted nuclear 9 reactors, which of course were shut down post-Fukushima. (Reportedly, there are another 8 to come.)

    Second, they’ve continued to expand renewable energy capacity. Solar, as of 2018, was at 56 GW capacity, supplying 6.8% of consumption:

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

    Wind has historically been more of an afterthought, with just 3.3 GW installed as of 2017:

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

    (Not surprising, perhaps, with land at a bit of a premium, and most coastal waters being pretty deep?)

    Of course, as has been repeatedly pointed out, what we *really* want to see is a flattening (and eventually reversal) in the Keeling curve.

  43. 93
    nigelj says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/08/lab-grown-food-destroy-farming-save-planet

    “Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet. George Monbiot”

    And from wikipedia “Solein is made by extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combining it with water, nutrients and vitamins. Electricity is needed for the process, but solar energy from Fortum (its partner) is used. A natural fermentation process then occurs which is similar to the one produced by yeast and lactic acid bacteria.”

    Looks quite interesting to me. The weak point could be that it requires additional nutrients like phosphorous and calcium that are in relatively limited supply. But if it uses these more efficiently than super phosphate dumped on the ground, it might make the plan viable. Of course such data is not easy to find. But the bottom line is it looks like it could be quite low cost, and could take a lot of pressure off land resources)

  44. 94

    Al Bundy makes me facepalm @77:

    AB: So you’re saying that it is impossible to shunt excess production to fuel creation? That doing things as destructively and inefficiently as possible is the only alternative to doing it your way? Why?

    Where did THAT come from?  Duke Power is burning natural gas; there is NOTHING to divert to fuel CREATION.

    Whatever you’re smoking, flush it.  It’s destroying whatever remains of your thought processes.

    I’m thinking that a law prohibiting NOX creation would dunk your argument in the toilet.

    Love to see some idiots do that, crash their electric grid and discredit their whole movement.  Better someone small than the whole USA under the bleedership of The Bern.

    Aside from a few technologies barely present on the grid (e.g. MCFCs) there are NO generators which do not create NOx at all.  NOx is harmful but short-lived.  CO2 has a half-life of at least 1000 years.  What’s more important?

    Please don’t channel a sub-genius. People care about climate and they focus on personal.

    What you are not getting is that we should NOT let people escape from a society THEY created to OURS, to the detriment of the planet.  What they do, they must live with.

    I’ve never seen a claim that colored immigrants spew more carbon than white descendants of immigrants. Do you have a point?

    You keep studiously evading the point:  their countries have far lower per-capita emissions than the USA, for reasons like not requiring space heat.

    AB: I’ve never seen a claim that colored immigrants spew more carbon than white descendants of immigrants. Do you have a point?

    HTF, do you LISTEN TO YOURSELF?!  The white descendants of pioneers and settlers (NOT “immigrants”; they built a country, not coming to an existing one) are fewer than their preceding generation.  Even if they have the same carbon footprint as their parents, the total footprint is SHRINKING.  The immigrants are coming to the USA precisely to produce and enjoy a vastly greater carbon footprint than they could have in their own society.  And that is precisely what we must put a stop to.  They must STAY HOME; the planet cannot afford their indulgences.

    Seriously, given your nuclear-but-only-here solution, why not cram as much of humanity into your non-destructive tribe?

    Have I mentioned that I enjoy seeing and deconstructing your derangement?

    I do NOT think nuclear is only-here.  The reactors at Barakah are a welcome development (but way too little, too slow).  The Yanlong district-heat reactors in China are something I’d like to see go worldwide.

    Here’s a clue: the Bell Curve works, which means that even in a Stupid Population some folks exist who can read, understand, and build a White Man’s Invention.

    Here’s a clue:  You need to have enough smart people to construct the invention, and defend it against the dumb who’ll e.g. drain your transformer oil to cook with.  Too big a fraction of dumb people and you not only can’t build more good stuff, you can’t defend what you’ve got.  Corruption operates as dumbth in this context.

  45. 95

    Kevin McKinney writes @82:

    Allegedly, NOX emissions have increased

    An allegation I explicitly said should be confirmed.

    the net radiative forcing is nowhere quantified in the article.

    Which is independent of the issue of criteria air pollutants contributing to e.g. photochemical smog.

    There’s a way to absorb truly vast amounts of RE and make it useful against net radiative forcing:  use electric heat to replace gas combustion in the idling combined-cycle plants.  You can make 50 MJ of electricity displace 1 kg of methane, eliminating the emission of 2.75 kg of CO2.  This works up to the point where you have replaced all the methane with electricity, at which point you need to find another dump load or just waste it.  But it would work, and work cheaply too.

    In other words, the NOX issue can be mitigated, to a large degree

    If a 44% increase in NOx counts as “mitigation”.  I’d like to see a decrease, such as preheating of fuel and combustor air above the auto-ignition temperature of the fuel allowing ultra-lean mixtures which burn without hot-spots which create NOx.

  46. 96

    zebra makes me LOL again @90:

    And you also need … plug-and-chug engineers like EP

    More than once I have ingratiated myself to employers by walking into a situation their people could not solve and diagnosing and fixing the problem within a day, sometimes within hours.  Every last one of those problems was outside my educational coursework.

    What I’m working on right now (trying to find a partner to deal with the mechanical aspects) uses nothing newer than 19th and early 20th century industrial chemistry.  It just uses it in a novel way.  There’s room to add 21st century twists like zeolite filters and perovskite catalysts to make certain process steps cheaper, but that’s in no way essential.  The real difficulty is going to be making the process equipment cheap and reproducible in volume.  That is not in my area of expertise.  Yet.

  47. 97
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @90, you started well by talking about how inventors do need a financial support structure etc, then drifted into putting people down. Since you think you are so great, how much money are you worth? What degrees do you have? LOL.

  48. 98
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian,

    My policy of not interacting with you is a good one. But when you spoke of rug Weaver’s I decided to give it a try. You appeared to be providing the beginning of a picture of a regenerative lifestyle. This seemed new. You might be willing to go past the point where we’ve all been “schooled” before.

    So I took a foolish chance. I asked about their lives and if in fact you were holding them up as examples.

    I expected you to respond with a further description. Perhaps a decent little house with running water. A garden and cellar that provide nutritious food. A part-time, not full-time relaxing weaving gig to provide extra cash…

    Instead you attacked. From my view the attack was completely unwarranted. I even used a “this is a real and honest question” notice so as to prevent misinterpretation. Sooo frustrating that I lost it. Not a good look for either of us.

    So do me a favor and try to ignore me. I’ll do the reciprical favor.

  49. 99
    Mr. Know It All says:

    72 – nigelj
    “Mr. Know It All @48, what you have described is pretty much carbon fee and dividend anyway.”

    Nay. A gasoline tax could be applied with no added bureaucracy. They already collect taxes on the gasoline, diesel, natural gas, etc used by the public. Increasing the tax is a 5 minute operation in a computer. A carbon fee and dividend requires a monstrous bureaucracy, and no human will know where all the money is going, or who all the players are, which creates the opportunity for fraud, money laundering, and corruption. They are working on such a bill, SB 1530, in the US state of Oregon as we speak. Currently it’s at 94 pages, and with amendments, I heard it’s up to around 176 pages. It is laughable and isn’t worth the electrons they’ve wasted on it. Here is the 94 page version – not even worthy for use as butt wipes:

    https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2020R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB1530/A-Engrossed

    The last Guvnuh of Oregon had to quit, I think because his girl friend was involved some way in some kind of shady environmental deals where his position helped her – something like that. Carbon tax and dividend, or cap and trade, or whatever you call it will encourage more of the same corrupt behavior. A simple gas tax is “hit the button”, done. Want to tax FFs? DO IT. HIT THE BUTTON!

    https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2015/02/gov_john_kitzhaber_resigns_ami.html

    75 – Al Bundy
    “AB: Apparently you’ve never heard of the concept of ‘equality’. Who the f cares about how wealthy someone is? O, that’s right. You. Thus, you design systems that descriminate based on wealth and then scream about the descrimination your proposed systems produce.”

    Nay, Al. I don’t care how wealthy people are – it is leftists (every D presidential candidate) who want to take the wealth from “rich” people. Variable tax rates make sense – low income folks can’t pay higher taxes – they are broke ass po’. That’s called helping people WITHOUT wealth, unlike leftists who want to steal from those WITH wealth. No, I am not wealthy, but I’d like to be. Nothing wrong with it – to me wealth just buys time to do as you want instead of what your boss wants.

    86 – Al
    “AB: Agreed, as long as the results are owned by the inventor and the taxpayer, not the capitalistic leeches who currently get everything. Seriously, the government, inventors, and universities create almost all advances and then give leeches almost all of the rewards because _____?”

    Have any examples of such “capitalistic leeches”? Don’t just name them, tell us why they are leeches, what did they do wrong. Do you not want to make $ on your inventions? Don’t inventors willingly enter into contracts for X amount of dollars to license or sell their invention? Isn’t that a win-win for both parties?

  50. 100

    Kevin McKinney misses the point @92:

    Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down in 2019 by around 33 gigatonnes after two years of increases. The IEA says that this came from a sharp decline in CO2 emissions from the power sector in advanced economies and credits the role of renewable sources (wind and solar).

    First, there is no way in hell that world CO2 emissions decreased by 33 gigatonnes in 2019, because world CO2 emissions were only about 35 gigatonnes in 2017.  Decreasing to 33 GT… that’s possible.

    Second, presenting this as a triumph for “renewables” is fraud.  There is no way that they grew fast enough to offset that much CO2 in one year.  Any decrease is likely due to reduced space heat requirements from the warm 2018-2019 winter.

    I swear, too many of the commenters here would read this piece of utter drivel by Whitney Stark and nod along with it, afraid to say “boo!” to the obvious nonsense because that would be several kinds of -ist and there is nothing worse than being -ist.