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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. 101

    nigelj writes @93:

    The weak point could be that it requires additional nutrients like phosphorous and calcium that are in relatively limited supply.

    Calcium, in short supply?  Just what do you think limestone is made of?

    Phosphate is relatively scarce on land, but the oceans are full of it.  It literally precipitates out as phosphate rock (with enough leavening of uranium to make the tailings a radwaste problem if it’s not reclaimed).  If you can grow your bacteria using seawater, your mineral nutrients are all taken care of.

  2. 102

    Taking stock of the last decade of EV developments, it’s worth noting that the energy density of LI batteries has tripled during that time:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/02/19/bloombergnef-lithium-ion-battery-cell-densities-have-almost-tripled-since-2010/

    Along with that has come a significant and still ongoing reduction in cost as the technology continues to mature. And of course, that has implications well beyond transportation, as the same factors continue to bring down the costs of LI-based energy storage.

  3. 103
    Joseph Zorzin says:

    I just watched a video of Michael Mann in 2015 defending himself- regarding the stolen emails: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP6N9nbmS54&feature=youtu.be

    Sounds like a good defense. But, I don’t see any good explanation of the “divergence problem”.

    On the Skeptical Science web site I see, “The divergence problem is a physical phenomenon – tree growth has slowed or declined in the last few decades, mostly in high northern latitudes. The divergence problem is unprecedented, unique to the last few decades, indicating its cause may be anthropogenic. The cause is likely to be a combination of local and global factors such as warming-induced drought and global dimming. Tree-ring proxy reconstructions are reliable before 1960, tracking closely with the instrumental record and other independent proxies.”

    And, “Tree growth is sensitive to temperature. Consequently, tree-ring width and tree-ring density, both indicators of tree growth, serve as useful proxies for temperature. By measuring tree growth in ancient trees, scientists can reconstruct temperature records going back over 1000 years. Comparisons with direct temperature measurements back to 1880 show a high correlation with tree growth. However, in high latitude sites, the correlation breaks down after 1960. At this point, while temperatures rise, tree-ring width shows a falling trend. This divergence between temperature and tree growth is called, imaginatively, the divergence problem.”

    But as a forester for 47 years- I find it hard to believe temperatures can accurately be determined from tree rings. A lot of variables effect tree rings not just temperature. I look at a lot of tree rings on stumps and I don’t see any slowing of tree growth. Yes, I’ll have to dig into the original research if I can find it- as I don’t have easy access to a university library and I don’t want to pay to see the research.

  4. 104
    nigelj says:

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0145.1?af=R

    “If climate change is left unmitigated the construction of a 637 km long Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED) might be the most viable solution to protect Northern Europe against sea level rise….”

  5. 105
    Al Bundy says:

    Russell: agree that reduction should be encouraged, but I have yet to see a solution that is not heavily regressive

    AB: Given that every proposed fee and dividend program is highly progressive, I’m guessing that you get your info from folks who think their agenda is so critically needed that bald face lies are warranted, that facts and real world results must be inverted when they contradict a cherished belief. I suggest you switch information providers because your current sources are highly inaccurate, so much so that dishonesty is the only character trait that would explain their peddling such sh**.

    And “I’ve never found” generally means “I’ve never looked for, not even the teensiest bit”. Does that apply here?

  6. 106
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Joseph Zorzin: “I find it hard to believe temperatures can accurately be determined from tree rings.”

    Well, the data disagree. Keep in mind that they are not required to give a year-on-year temperature series, so as long as conditions stay within a given range for the confounding factors, the series will be correct. Also keep in mind that over most of the range considered in the reconstruction, there are other data series that support the reconstruction. This technique is decades old, and while not perfect, it yields sufficiently accurate data for the purposes of establishing a climate baseline.

  7. 107

    Joseph Zorin writes @103:

    But as a forester for 47 years- I find it hard to believe temperatures can accurately be determined from tree rings. A lot of variables effect tree rings not just temperature. I look at a lot of tree rings on stumps and I don’t see any slowing of tree growth.

    Are you at high latitude, or not?

  8. 108

    E-P, #100–

    I’m accused of “missing the point” in my #92 because:

    1) the story I cited misstates a decline to 33 gigatonnes as a decline of the same amount; and

    2) attributing the decrease to the role of renewables can’t be true, because, well, it can’t be true.

    If one goes back to the original source, one finds that:

    1) the criticism is correct. Sorry I missed the goof! I’ve gone back to C-T and requested a correction of their story.

    2) the original attributes the decline in emissions to a number of factors, of which the rising contribution of renewable energy is the first. (Actually, the cited version also mentioned some of the other contributing factors as well.) However, the pre-eminent role of renewable energy is based on quantitative assessment of avoided emissions–so if it’s a “fraud”, it’s at least a highly sophisticated one.

    Specifically, the original IEA report says:

    This resulted mainly from a sharp decline in CO2 emissions from the power sector in advanced economies, thanks to the expanding role of renewable sources (mainly wind and solar PV), fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power output.

    E-P does not wish to acknowledge any role for renewables, because in his fantasy world, they just make things worse. But the IEA is quite specific. To wit:

    Generation from coal-fired plants in advanced economies declined by nearly 15% as a result of continued growth of renewables, coal-to-gas fuel switching, a rise in nuclear power and weaker electricity demand. The growth of renewables in electricity generation in advanced economies delivered 130 Mt of CO2 emissions savings in 2019. Wind accounted for the biggest share of the increase, with output expanding 12% from 2018 levels. Solar PV saw the fastest growth amongst renewable sources, helping to push renewables’ share of total electricity generation close to 28%. Coal-to-gas fuel switching for power generation avoided 100 Mt of CO2 in advanced economies and was particularly strong in the United States due to record low natural gas prices. Higher nuclear power generation in advanced economies, particularly in Japan and Korea, avoided over 50 Mt of CO2.

    So, to repeat: RE, 130 MT avoided emissions; natgas, 100 MT; nuclear, 50 MT.

    The report also highlights the role of renewables in 4 important economies:

    Germany:

    The country’s coal-fired power fleet saw a drop in output of more than 25% year on year as electricity demand declined and generation from renewables, especially wind (+11%), increased. With a share of over 40%, renewables for the very first time generated more electricity in 2019 than Germany’s coal-fired power stations.

    UK:

    The United Kingdom continued its strong progress with decarbonisation as output from coal-fired power plants fell to only 2% of total electricity generation. Rapid expansion of output from offshore wind, as additional projects came online in the North Sea, was a driving factor behind this decline. Renewables provided about 40% of electricity supply in the United Kingdom, with gas supplying a similar amount. The share of renewables became even higher in the later part of the year, with wind, solar PV and other sources generating more electricity than all fossil fuels combined during the third quarter.

    India:

    Emissions growth in India was moderate in 2019, with CO2 emissions from the power sector declining slightly as electricity demand was broadly stable and strong renewables growth prompted coal-fired electricity generation to fall for the first time since 1973.

    China:

    In China, emissions rose but were tempered by slower economic growth and higher output from low-carbon sources of electricity. Renewables continued to expand in China, and 2019 was also the first full year of operation for seven large-scale nuclear reactors in the country.

    We are all well aware that E-P doesn’t want to believe that there is an affordable, scalable strategy–other than his imaginary version of nuclear power–which can lead to relatively rapid decarbonization of power production. However, the IEA report certainly adds another solid data point to support of the idea that modern renewables provide exactly that.

    It also supports the idea that rapid decarbonization will most likely proceed from several sources, not merely one ‘silver bullet’.

  9. 109

    KIA 99: Carbon tax and dividend, or cap and trade, or whatever you call it will encourage more of the same corrupt behavior.

    BPL: Didn’t happen with the Bush I cap-and-trade scheme for sulfates.

  10. 110
    Al Bundy says:

    Mrkia: Have any examples of such “capitalistic leeches”?

    AB: Donald Trump. Most folks who inherit, as opposed to earn. Then there’s the financial system, which sucks down orders of magnitude more than it produces.

    EP, if NOX prevention and wear reduction requires production of unneeded power then any productive use of said power is warranted. And CH4 is a gas at STP so building liquid fuels is an (inefficient) upgrade. But yes, until ya think it through it does sound stupid. And, of course, as you’ve noted, we can always dump extra electrons to CO2 sequestration. I’m partial to my digital engine invention/concept because it bypasses the problem entirely.

    And yeah, I was being contrary. Got myself all peeved at our Resident God and splattered some your way. Glad I gave you a chuckle. I’ve said it before: I largely agree with most of what you say.

    Zebra, if you’d like descriptions of some of my inventions write me an email. Would ten be enough? Let’s see…

    1 flood control
    2 forestry
    3 candles
    4 engine
    5 refrigerator
    6 soda
    7 air travel
    8 vehicle suspension
    9 vehicle aerodynamics
    10 vehicle safety

    There’s more, but ten seems like a good amount.

    And your experience seems typical. It is a rare inventor who doesn’t lose every penny s)he invests in developing, patenting, and trying to bring an Invention to market.

  11. 111
    nigelj says:

    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/12/community-choice-aggregation-a-brief-introduction/

    “Community choice aggregation: A brief introductionUnder this approach, local governments take over the job of buying electricity for their residents.”

    “ARLSBAD, CA. – When it comes to paying the electric bill, most people don’t give it a second thought – it’s something that in effect is “baked in.”

    “But across California and several other states, local governments increasingly are thinking anew about how their residents get their power – with big potential implications for Americans’ impact on climate change.”

    “In the San Diego area this fall, several cities have moved toward community choice aggregation (CCA) – an arrangement in which local governments take over the job of buying electricity for their residents. Many cities and counties that run CCAs hire third parties with expertise in navigating energy markets, but the overall goal is to offer residents cheaper rates and more choices for renewable sources of energy. Residents and businesses situated within the boundaries of a local jurisdiction that launches a CCA are automatically signed up in it – although they can opt out and stay as customers of their traditional utility…..”

  12. 112
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @101, thanks yeah maybe that could work, and phosphorous can be extracted from sea water, although it’s expensive at this stage. I was being a twit including calcium. I was reading stuff, and typing the comment during ad breaks on television and not really thinking. Hate it when that happens.

  13. 113
    Joseph Zorzin says:

    Ray Ladbury @ 106
    “This technique is decades old, and while not perfect, it yields sufficiently accurate data for the purposes of establishing a climate baseline.”
    So, what caused the divergence problem?

    Engineer-Poet @107
    I’m in central Mass. and have worked as a forester in much of central and western MA from 300′ elevation (oak-pine forests) to 2,300′ elevation (spruce-fir forests). What I see is that the tree rings have everything to do with the health of the tree, competition with other trees, age of tree, etc. I understand the basic logic that tree ring proxies are best done in locations where it’s deemed that temperature is the main factor. I still doubt it. I’ll need to read the research papers. I’m not a scientist- only have a BS degree in forestry. I wonder if the researchers are biologists or foresters? The two professions have a tendency to see things differently- and miss what the other sees. Currently, here in Mass., we have biologists fighting to lock up all the forests to “save the Earth”. Foresters don’t agree with that logic.

  14. 114
    Dan Miller says:

    #99 Mr. Know It All: Perhaps you don’t understand what Fee and Dividend is. All of the money collected (100%) is distributed to every legal resident. Simple and everyone knows where every penny is going. F&D is very different than Cap and Trade, which may be what you are getting confused with. HR763 is a Fee and Dividend bill that is not complicated. The bill you cite, SB 1530, is not a Fee and Dividend bill at all.

    A gas tax applies only to gasoline (no surprise there). The F&D fee is assessed at the well, mine, or port of entry so it covers the entire fossil fuel industry. Quite a difference.

  15. 115
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @99 maybe you are right for once. Reminds me of the Dodd Frank financial act that started out 10 pages long, and got to 900 pages because of huge numbers of very complicated exemptions to placate business.

  16. 116
    Tom Adams says:

    So, is Bernie’s plan doable?

    The media seems to say “no”.

    100% renewable for transportation and electricity in the USA by 2030.

    “To get to our goal of 100 percent sustainable energy, we will not rely on any false solutions like nuclear, geoengineering, carbon capture and sequestration, or trash incinerators.” (Not sure of the time-frame on this one.)

  17. 117
    zebra says:

    #114 Dan Miller,

    Dan, the problem with both fee and dividend and increasing gas taxes is that they are virtually impossible to pass in the US Senate. This would be true even if there were a Democratic majority… meaning, the bill would actually get voted on, unlike what happens now. We saw this with the ACA bill, where there was even a nominal supermajority, and lots of compromise was necessary.

    This argument about “equal distribution” as a selling point just doesn’t work. The campaign against will simply point out to whitefolk in sparsely populated states that all the money will go to “those people” in the coastal cities who don’t even have cars. (KIA probably thinks he’s being clever by suggesting the gas tax, for that very reason…it’s even easier to defeat.)

    You don’t have the votes, and it is unlikely that you ever will.

  18. 118
    Al Bundy says:

    Joseph Z,

    You are correct that some random tree’s rings aren’t a legitimate measure of temperature. But amazingly enough, scientists actually have brains and the motivation to use them.

    So they don’t pick random trees. Instead, they select trees based on their microclimate. Instead of coring a tree that is largely limited by water or whatever, they choose trees that are limited by temperature, such as a tree located near the limit of its thermal tolerance. I’m no expert but I have read about how the experts tromp through the woods for extended periods while debating which trees will give the most accurate results.

    When an expert says something that sounds stupid a layperson can be confident that their concern arises from their own ignorance. Kinda logical that years of advanced education followed by years of focused work will result in some pretty nifty tricks, eh?

  19. 119

    Kevin McKinney dodges and weaves @108:

    the pre-eminent role of renewable energy is based on quantitative assessment of avoided emissions–so if it’s a “fraud”, it’s at least a highly sophisticated one.

    Hardly.  It’s been obvious for at least 16 years (the amount of time I’ve been blogging at The Ergosphere) that “renewable energy” has rapidly diminishing returns absent some very peculiar circumstances, like large-reservoir hydro.  Michael Shellenberger notes that France is beyond the point of zero marginal benefit:

    Then, under pressure from Germany, France spent $33 billion on renewables, over the last decade. What was the result? A rise in the carbon intensity of its electricity supply, and higher electricity prices, too.

    It’s a pity that there isn’t a betting market on these things, and forced investment by the advocates.  The skeptics could force them to pay up.

    Specifically, the original IEA report says:

    This resulted mainly from a sharp decline in CO2 emissions from the power sector in advanced economies, thanks to the expanding role of renewable sources (mainly wind and solar PV), fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power output.

    This weasel-wording is par for the course.  The authors had the opportunity to quantify and rank those contributions, to give some idea of where effort pays off the best.  They did not.

    the original attributes the decline in emissions to a number of factors, of which the rising contribution of renewable energy is the first.

    First mentioned does NOT mean most significant.

    You know I’m usually up for an artillery duel delivering withering fire of hard data, and today’s no exception.  For the USA, I’ll compare 2016 to the latest data the EIA (yes, EIA not IEA because I can navigate the data) has on record:  2018 complete and 2019 Jan-October, electric power sector only (because that’s what I can get breakdowns for), electric generation and CO2 emissions.  (Getting this stuff imported, reformatted and aligned is a PITA, lemme tell you.)

    (10 PM, been up since 5 AM, gonna pause this and come back in the AM)

    All right, back at 6:50 AM with some data glitches fixed.  The EIA does not list emissions data for wood or waste burning, nor for nuclear, wind and solar.  It does list CO2 emissions for geothermal, which range between about 24 and 29 gCO2/kWh.  However, geothermal is such a tiny player in the US we can ignore it.  Geothermal generation never exceeds 10% of the monthly generation from wind over the sample periods.

    First thing to note is that CO2 intensity of natural gas ranges from a minimum of 412.9 gCO2/kWh in Feb 2019 to a peak of 437.6 gCO2/kWh in July 2016.  This appears to follow the use of open-cycle peaking plants.  Coal hovers around 1000-1020 grams but goes from an anomalously low 990 g in 01/2018 to an anomalously high 1046.7 g in 12/2018.

    These figures are pretty steady, so the effects on net CO2 emissions are going to be mostly from each source’s share of total generation.

    Net coal generation fell 7.4% from 2016 to 2018, and the Jan-Oct total fell a whopping 14.5% from 2018 to 2019.  Net gas generation rose 6.7% 2016-2018, and another 7.0% in the Jan-Oct period.  Nuclear roughly held steady over the same period, rising 0.2% 2016-2018 and another 0.1% Jan-Oct.

    That’s the within-category change, but what we need to look at is absolute change.  Coal fell by 91015 GWh from 2016-8 and a further 137631 GWh in the 10-month period.  Gas rose by 86105 GWh 2016-8 and another 81303 GWh over the 10-month period.  Solar rose just 27755 GWh 2016-8 and only 7076 GWh in the 10-month period.  Wind rose 45588 GWh and 20834 GWh respectively.

    The big improvements came from replacement of coal by gas.  This is a problem, because the carbon intensity of gas is stubbornly high at over 400 gCO2/kWh.  This sets a floor under the improvements which can be obtained from “renewables” because their natural gas backup is anything but renewable or clean.  This is precisely the French phenomenon noted by Shellenberger; as France replaced nuclear with “renewables”, emissions and cost both went up.

    “Renewables” are good at small penetrations but they have steeply diminishing returns.  Full decarbonization cannot be done with wind and solar; it requires always-on generation like hydro, geothermal and nuclear, and the former two cannot scale.

    We are all well aware that E-P doesn’t want to believe that there is an affordable, scalable strategy–other than his imaginary version of nuclear power–which can lead to relatively rapid decarbonization of power production.

    Meanwhile, France goes “renewable” and loses ground.  All the decarbonization success stories of the post-oil shock period used hydro and nuclear, not wind and solar.  Look at the history.  If you want to make me believe, SHOW ME A SUCCESS STORY.

    I promote fast-breeder reactors because we know they work and we have literally centuries worth of fuel for them just lying around.  Australia is burning and we still haven’t realized the full warming impact of the CO2 that’s already in the air, let alone what we’ll add over the next 10 years.  We gotta do something and do it NOW.

  20. 120
    MA Rodger says:

    Joseph Zorzin @103/113,
    You may find StGeorge & Esper (2018) ‘Concord and discord among Northern Hemisphere paleotemperature reconstructions from tree rings’ informative on more recent work with proxy tree ring reconstructions. And your doubts as to the usefulness of tree rings in temperature reconstructions, today there are plenty other proxy temperature reconstructions that do not require tree rings but which provide pretty-much identical results.

  21. 121
    Dan Miller says:

    #117 Zebra: If I told you 10 years ago that gay marriage would be legal nationally, you would have also said that I was crazy. The world is waking up to the dangers of climate change and will soon demand action. F&D is easy and low hanging fruit. You claim about “others” doesn’t apply here because the “whitefolk” you refer to will be making money on the deal (except for the wealthy) so they are not sending their money to “others”.

    When it comes to pricing carbon, we are going to go from impossible to inevitable without passing through probable.

  22. 122
    nigelj says:

    Zebra says “Dan, the problem with both fee and dividend and increasing gas taxes is that they are virtually impossible to pass in the US Senate.”

    This is the hard reality. While carbon taxes are a good mechanism, the senate is dominated by Republicans who are ideologically opposed to new taxes. We briefly tried a carbon tax in NZ but it didn’t get enough political traction partly for similar ideological opposition, so we ended up with an emissions trading scheme.

    I don’t particularly love the ETS but I can see it could at least work reasonably ok. Such schemes helped eliminate sulphate aerosols back in the 1980’s. The point is there seem to be several mechanisms that can achieve the desired result, providing they are implemented robustly. You have to face the political realities or nothing will be done at all.

    The other alternative is to focus more on environmental rules and subsidies for clean energy and other climate projects. Again I’m not saying subsidies are ideal, but its an alternative and subsidies have already boosted deployment of wind and solar power. A republican dominated senate might be more amenable to such mechanisms, since they are less ideologically opposed to them, particularly subsidies. The GOP and Democrats appear to both love subsidies. Subsidies and rules are also consistent with the GND so the democrats position. Its a way through. We have to face political realities even if they are frustrating. Its always better to do something than nothing.

  23. 123

    E-P said:

    “It’s been obvious for at least 16 years (the amount of time I’ve been blogging at The Ergosphere)”

    That’s true — I remember E-P since I started blogging in the same year. At first we thought that everyone needed aliases or else we would get flooded with spam, but that fear didn’t really pan out. 16 years later, oil is even more dead, which is the real fear. So E-P, if you really want to make your mark with your collected wisdom, try at least publishing something, since we need another David MacKay (RIP) to provide a path forward.

  24. 124

    E-P accuses me of ‘bobbing and weaving’ in his #119, and talks bravely of hard data.

    Oddly:

    1) he presents precisely none to support his main counterexample, which is allegedly that by adding renewables, France saw increased emissions. The allegation is sourced to an obvious hit piece by Michael Shellenberger, who provides no source and no evidence of the claim, although he does document that France spent money on RE.

    However, if you look at French emission data for “the last decade”, you see an apparent declining trend over the first half of that period, followed by basically a flat line to 2018. The characterization of the trend line is debatable, but the bottom line is that emissions as of 2018 are about 15% lower than in 2010.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/1067575/carbon-dioxide-emissions-france/

    Looks to me as if Shellenberger was–not correct.

    2) E-P claims the IEA report failed to quantify contributions to the decline in emissions:

    This weasel-wording is par for the course. The authors had the opportunity to quantify and rank those contributions, to give some idea of where effort pays off the best. They did not.

    This, like Shellenberger’s BS, is incorrect. Let me paste exactly what the IEA said as I posted it in the comment in question:

    IEA: “The growth of renewables in electricity generation in advanced economies delivered 130 Mt of CO2 emissions savings in 2019. Wind accounted for the biggest share of the increase, with output expanding 12% from 2018 levels. Solar PV saw the fastest growth amongst renewable sources, helping to push renewables’ share of total electricity generation close to 28%. Coal-to-gas fuel switching for power generation avoided 100 Mt of CO2 in advanced economies and was particularly strong in the United States due to record low natural gas prices. Higher nuclear power generation in advanced economies, particularly in Japan and Korea, avoided over 50 Mt of CO2.”

    KDM: So, to repeat: RE, 130 MT avoided emissions; natgas, 100 MT; nuclear, 50 MT.

    Let the reader judge just who is “bobbing and weaving” here.

  25. 125
    David B. Benson says:

    A reminder that quite a bit of energy & also climate change information with links can be found at
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/
    where you can also register to comment.

  26. 126

    E-P 119: Full decarbonization cannot be done with wind and solar; it requires always-on generation like hydro, geothermal and nuclear, and the former two cannot scale.

    BPL: No, it requires back-up power like pumped hydro, or wide-area smart grids, or both.

    E-P: If you want to make me believe, SHOW ME A SUCCESS STORY.

    BPL: If you want to make me believe in SMRs or 4th-Gen nukes, SHOW ME A SUCCESS STORY.

  27. 127
    zebra says:

    #121 Dan Miller,

    Unfortunately, you seem to be as much out of touch with reality as some of the Denialists.

    The only reason we have gay marriage is because of a court decision, not legislation. And I’m quite confident that if the gay marriage issue had gone to the SCOTUS we have today, it would have lost. Do you disagree?

    Your kind of thinking is really not very helpful; I guess it is primarily the result of living in a fantasy bubble with like-minded people, who have little experience, and a lack of historical knowledge/understanding.

    It’s quite possible that the Russians will succeed in influencing the US elections so that Sanders is the Dem candidate. This will result in a larger Republican majority in the Senate, perhaps loss of the House, and an even more conservative SCOTUS that will last for decades, appointed by Trump or perhaps Pence. Not so good for either the climate or gay people.

    In addition to not knowing history, you seem to have a very unrealistic conception about geography and economics. People in sparsely populated states and rural areas drive a lot. So no, they will not be “making money” at all. Your reasoning is just like Trump saying that tariffs mean “China is paying” for his vote-buying subsidies to US farmers… in both cases, increased costs get passed on to consumers, and that is in no way restricted to “the wealthy”.

  28. 128
    zebra says:

    #110 Al Bundy,

    “write me an email”

    Al, you do realize that there are lots of websites specifically for people trying to find a date or hookup or whatever, right? I’m not sure what your age preferences are, but between your list of inventions and those great SAT scores you like to tell people about, I’m sure you would get plenty of responses.

    I’m mostly just interested in having warrant-defined discussions here about physics, and how to fix the climate physically and politically and economically, and stuff like that.

  29. 129
    Al Bundy says:

    EP,

    France has nukes. Are you saying that they’re managing their grid poorly? Or did they shut down a bunch of nukes? Adding renewables shouldn’t increase emissions if done right. Run the nukes normally. Shortages are supplied by renewables. Excess gets sold, used to make fuel, stored, or used to sequester CO2.

  30. 130
    Steven Emmerson says:

    The Guardian is reporting that a yet-to-be-published study from Brown University found that bots are responsible for about 25% of all tweets calling into question AGW and about 5% of tweets that call for AGW to be addressed.

  31. 131
    nigelj says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/21/jp-morgan-economists-warn-climate-crisis-threat-human-race

    “JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race. Leaked report for world’s major fossil fuel financier says Earth is on unsustainable trajectory…”

  32. 132
  33. 133
    Mr. Know It All says:

    110 – Al Bundy
    “Mrkia: Have any examples of such “capitalistic leeches”?

    AB: Donald Trump. Most folks who inherit, as opposed to earn.
    …..”

    Nice try Al, but no ceegar. I thought the discussion was about inventors, but if you insist: Trump did not inherit many (if any) of his properties (Yes I know he inherited a small grubstake.) Here is a list of Trump property – the ones in bold are owned by Trump or the Trump Organization – many of them he had built or remodeled, so he “earned” them (your words). The non-bold items are named after Trump in licensing agreements, etc – read all the way to the bottom:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_things_named_after_Donald_Trump#Real_estate

  34. 134
    Mr. Know It All says:

    114 – Dan Miller

    “A gas tax applies only to gasoline (no surprise there). The F&D fee is assessed at the well, mine, or port of entry so it covers the entire fossil fuel industry. Quite a difference.”

    My bad, Dan. My language was lazy – the “gas tax” could include a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel at the pump, a tax on Natural gas on your nat gas bill, and any other end-users of FFs that you wish. We already have taxes on those – all you have to do is change a number in the computers and POOF, higher tax. No bureaucracy needed. We already have a progressive income tax so, to prevent undue burden on po’ folks, include a provision in the tax code to give back some to the po’. No added bureaucracy and expense. No hidden money transfers. Less corruption. ;) If the remainder of the tax collected is used for RE projects, efficiency projects, etc, then it would have as good a chance to pass as a F&D scheme which most do not understand.

  35. 135

    Digging through some files pulled from an old computer, I found this:

    https://docs.wind-watch.org/Schleede-Memo-NRC-Draft-Report-Electricity-From-Renewables.pdf

    A few quotes:

    A. Panel Lacks Necessary Balance. The Panel assembled for the project clearly lacks balance. It apparently consists largely of individuals who are tied to and dependent upon spending for “renewable energy” technologies and products. It includes individuals from the wind industry with a direct interest in public policies, tax breaks, and subsidies benefitting the wind industry. There is an absence of representation of (a) interests of citizens, taxpayers, and electric customers who are adversely affected by wind energy or other renewable energy developments, (b) experts that have studied the adverse environmental, ecological, economic, scenic, property value, and capital investment decisions of wind energy developments, or (c) individuals who could help temper excessive enthusiasm on the part of panel members whose personal interests are so directly involved.

    The wind industry and other wind energy advocates (including DOE-EERE and NREL) have for more than a decade overstated the environmental, energy, and economic benefits of wind 1energy and understated the adverse environmental, ecological, economic, scenic, and property value impacts. They have misled the public, media, and government officials and helped create a false “popular wisdom” about wind energy.

    Panel apparently is unaware of the full extent of tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy and its full, trust cost. The draft report doesn’t acknowledge the full extent of the lucrative tax breaks enjoyed by “wind farm” owners and the temporary “partners” (often from the financial industry) they acquire so that they can take full advantage of huge federal and state tax breaks and subsidies. For example, the draft report does not even mention the tax break and subsidy resulting from “wind farm” owners’ ability to recover the full capital investment costs of wind equipment – including both equity and debt –because it is eligible for exceedingly generous accelerated depreciation for tax purposes; specifically 5-year double declining balance accelerated depreciation (5-yr; 200% DB).

    It goes on for 12 pages.  RTWT.

  36. 136

    Kevin McKinney tries a bait-and-switch @124:

    E-P accuses me of ‘bobbing and weaving’ in his #119, and talks bravely of hard data.

    Everyone who wants a copy is welcome to my spreadsheet.  Mail me and tell me if you want XLS or ODS format.  My mail is on the right sidebar at The Ergosphere.

    1) he presents precisely none to support his main counterexample, which is allegedly that by adding renewables, France saw increased emissions. The allegation is sourced to an obvious hit piece by Michael Shellenberger, who provides no source and no evidence of the claim

    I trust Shellenberger on this one.  He does not have an obvious motive to lie, unlike the “environmental” groups (like RMI) which take fossil-fuel money either directly or laundered through foundations.

    However, if you look at French emission data for “the last decade”

    Stop RIGHT there.  You just pulled a bait-and-switch; you cited total French emissions, when Shellenberger referred to the French grid only.

    IEA: “The growth of renewables in electricity generation in advanced economies delivered 130 Mt of CO2 emissions savings in 2019. Wind accounted for the biggest share of the increase, with output expanding 12% from 2018 levels.

    Note that this does not offset for decreased efficiency of the generators stuck with “balancing” the unreliables, and net worldwide emissions continue to go UP almost every year despite the so-called savings.

    Do you understand the concept of a pyrrhic victory?  That’s what our “renewables” are giving us.

  37. 137
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @133, nobody said anything about Trump inheriting properties in particular. He sure inherited millions of dollars as below. But you know, keep on believing the Trump fantasy if you want. Your ability to ignore the truth is impressive. LOL.

    https://qz.com/1411006/trumps-413-million-inheritance-doesnt-explain-his-mysterious-cash-spending/

  38. 138

    BPL also baits-and-switches @126:

    No, it requires back-up power like pumped hydro

    We’ve already been over the massive land and water requirements of pumped hydro.  It is simply not possible to scale it up that far.  Batteries store energy in chemical bonds which are orders of magnitude more compact than water, and even so the USA would require roughly a cubic mile of batteries to provide the requisite grid buffering.

    or wide-area smart grids

    I’ll take “Greenie Fantasies” for $1000, Alex.

    If you want to make me believe in SMRs or 4th-Gen nukes, SHOW ME A SUCCESS STORY.

    Why do you insist on Gen IV reactors?  France, Ontario and Sweden succeeded with Gen II/III nukes.  There are 4 Western-designed Gen III+ reactors operating and a further 2 set to start in the next couple of years, and 1 of the operating units is already in CHP service; that’s as much as 3400 MW of energy that is fully decarbonized 24/7/365.  Russia has 2 SMRs on board the Akademik Lomonosov providing power and heat to Vilyuchinsk.

    As Stop These Things notes, “Nuclear Power Works: That’s Why The Wind & Solar Industries Hate It So Much”.

  39. 139

    Al Bundy writes @129:

    EP,

    France has nukes. Are you saying that they’re managing their grid poorly?

    Yes.  They listened to the Greens and agreed to pare back the nuclear fraction of electric generation to 50% while adding “renewables”.  The fossil fuel interests who pay the Greens under the table laughed all the way to the bank.

    Or did they shut down a bunch of nukes?

    France is closing both units at Fessenheim very soon, but that is obviously not what caused the increased emissions over the past couple of years.  That probably came from running at reduced power or extended maintenance outages.

    Adding renewables shouldn’t increase emissions if done right.

    Ask Duke Power about that.  NOx isn’t the only extra emission you get from stop-start operation of gas turbines.

    Run the nukes normally. Shortages are supplied by renewables.

    That only works with hydro.

    Excess gets sold, used to make fuel, stored, or used to sequester CO2.

    France is probably like everyone else and has approximately zero capacity for diverting power to such uses.  It takes a scientific/engineering mind to think like that, and neither pols nor Greenie ideologues can even follow the logic (but mention “hydrogen” and they’re immediately for it).  That’s why the policy steps required to get such dump loads into play have never even been considered.

    I’ve identified what looks to be roughly 300 MW of average dump-load potential from just one of my concepts in my own state, which is about equal to how much the Ludington PHS upgrade will increase its rating.  At peak, it could easily be 3x that.  That’s still barely equal to one serious power plant, but these things add up.  Adding another potential feedstock would boost the potential dump-energy consumption by upwards of 60%.  There’s at least one more large feedstock stream but I haven’t got numbers for it.

    Yes, ideally France would have reached its 50% nuclear goal by keeping nuclear at its current level and increasing net electric consumption by about half.  Electrifying the vehicle fleet (crunching 2018 EIA numbers here) figuring 25% efficiency for gasoline and 35% for distillate, 100% gasoline used on-road and 70% distillate used on-road, 120kBTU/gal for gasoline and 140k for distillate, 190kbbl/d gas and 951kbbl/d distillate comes out to 2.9 GW end-use energy from gasoline and 16.7 GW from distillate.  19.6 GW average compares to 455 TWh consumed in 2017 (51.9 GW average), so electrifying the fleet would get you most of the way to your 50% consumption increase.  Of course full electrification would take a while, but you could get there a lot faster by making all new vehicles plug-in hybrids; that would get you roughly 2/3 of the full amount and slash the petroleum consumption.

  40. 140

    Kevin McKinney wrote @132:

    Michael Shellenberger, cited by E-P above, has a long history of false and misleading claims.

    You take “Think Progress” as a reliable scientific source?

    The TP (appropriate acronym) piece basically accuses Shellenberger of heresy without directly addressing a single solid fact.  Guilt-by-agreement doesn’t get a pass either:  “For their falsehoods about Waxman and Tom Friedman, which was praised by the uber-conservative deniers at the Competitive Enterprise Institute….”  If CEI agrees with you after the fact, you’re wrong?

    And your URL-shortener goes to the rabidly anti-nuclear Wise International.  Seriously, dude?  You could not have discredited yourself more thoroughly if you’d intended to.

  41. 141
    Dan Miller says:

    #122 nigelj and #127 zebra:

    I’m not saying that we WILL do the right thing, but I am saying we could. Hell, we were warned over 30 years ago by Hansen about climate change and emissions have doubled since then. And we aren’t even talking about what is needed to avoid catastrophe. Fee and Dividend is the easiest, best next step but it only cuts emissions in half in 20 years. We need negative 80 Gt emissions soon to draw down atmospheric and ocean CO2 levels.

    BUT the world is changing. Climate impacts are becoming more obvious and people are noticing. Main stream financial institutions like BlackRock are turning against fossil fuels. Jim Cramer said he “is done” with fossil fuels. And a leaked report from JP Morgan shows they know that fossil fuels are in trouble:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/21/jp-morgan-economists-warn-climate-crisis-threat-human-race

    The problem with emissions trading schemes is that they make us feel good while not doing much. Yes, best is the enemy of better, but sometimes good just isn’t good enough.

    We kind of blew it already and no one will be happy with climate impacts in the next decade or two, let alone later this century. But we do have a chance to take real action. Fee and Dividend is a great step forward but by no means sufficient.

  42. 142
    nigelj says:

    Engineer Poet @140, I suggest the nuclear industry gets itself a better advocate than Shellenberger. I mean seriously he is doing you guys damage. I read just some of the links posted by KM and even allowing for some hyperbole and spin by Think Progress Shellenberger is a turn off, and unprincipled, at the very least. There’s much more to it than simply accusing Schellenberger of heresy.

    The public mostly dont like the sort of tactics this guy uses. It’s not a good look. Just giving you some PR advice. Your loss if you ignore what I’m saying.

  43. 143

    E-P 138: We’ve already been over the massive land and water requirements of pumped hydro. It is simply not possible to scale it up that far.

    BPL: People who have examined it say it is.

    https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/anu-finds-530000-potential-pumped-hydro-sites-worldwide

  44. 144

    E-P, #136 & 140–

    E-P doesn’t like my sources, and hence refuses to engage with the substantive points they make, which clearly show Shellenberger’s history of deceptive and misleading argumentation–because he ‘trusts’ Shellenberger, and one of the sources is “rabidly anti-nuclear.”

    Pretty much the definition of “ad hominem,” I’d say.

    But if we’re going to play credibility games, let’s note that the author of the supposedly unreliable Think Progress piece was Dr. Joe Romm. He holds a PhD in physics from MIT, was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and served as senior official in the DOE during the Clinton administration:

    Romm served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, in charge of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during 1997 and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from August 1995 through June 1998, and Special Assistant for Policy and Planning from 1993 to July 1995. This office, with an annual budget at the time of $1 billion and 550 employees, assists businesses in the industrial, utility, transportation and buildings sectors to develop and use advanced clean energy technologies to cut costs, increase reliability, and reduce pollution.

    As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Romm was in charge of all policy and technology analysis and programmatic development for the Office, which was then developing PEM fuel cells, microturbines, advanced cogeneration, superconductivity, building controls, photovoltaics and other renewables, biofuels, and hydrogen production and storage. Among other projects, he initiated, supervised, and publicized a comprehensive technical analysis in 1997 by five national laboratories of how energy technologies can best reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively, entitled Scenarios of U.S. Carbon Reductions.

    Which makes me a little curious as to what Shellenberger’s credentials are, exactly?

    Hm, says here:

    Shellenberger graduated from the Peace and Global Studies (PAGS) program at Earlham College in 1993.

    Admirable, no doubt.

    Moving on, then, to Shellenberger’s claim that adding renewables to the French energy mix has made it ‘dirtier’. E-P points out that S’s claim was that *electrical generation* had gotten dirtier, not that the total energy economy had done so. And that is true–I quoted the overall French carbon emissions, not in order to pull a ‘bait and switch’, but because:

    A) I haven’t been able to find that information in a format reasonably usable for our present purposes (this source tantalizes but fails to deliver);

    B) E-P himself has rather muddied the waters with vague and misleading claims such as “Meanwhile, France goes “renewable” and loses ground,” made back in #119; and

    C) Total emissions are actually what the atmosphere ‘cares’ about anyway.

    So, if you stipulate that S’s claim is correct, the conclusion you are forced to draw is that the effect was pretty insignificant, in that the claimed “loss of ground” was apparently swamped by improvements elsewhere in the energy economy. However, I don’t so stipulate, not until I actually see the relevant data. (And I’m not holding my breath on that.) For one thing, I note that in 2018, there were two things you can see in available data:

    1) As noted above, total French emissions were down ~14% WRT 2010;
    2) French electricity consumption reached an all-time high of 518 TWh in 2018, up ~3% from 2010’s 503 (itself a record at the time).

    So, not only did progress on mitigation outside of generation have to outweigh the alleged “loss of ground”, it had to do so while generation increased sharply. (And it was rather sharp: consumption in 2010 remains second-highest on record; the year-on-year increase from 2017 was a rather heftier ~7%.)

    Could it happen? Maybe. But it seems more likely to me that Shellenberger was simply making something up. There’s ample evidence that he and frequent collaborator Ted Nordhaus have played fast and loose with the facts before, and frequently enough have coherence issues. For instance, here’s Paul Thacker’s hilarious summary of their writings on An Inconvenient Truth:

    It’s hard to understand exactly what Nordhaus and Shellenberger are trying to say about Al Gore and the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Apparently, it increased “public backlash and division” and “drove rising partisan polarization” during a time that the public opinion on climate change “has been remarkably stable for the better part of two decades” except that “the public got the message” but “greens convinced themselves that U.S. public opinion on climate change had shifted dramatically, despite having no empirical evidence that was the case.”

    Got that?

    After all, the “U” in FUD stands for “uncertainty.”

  45. 145

    Paul Pukite writes @123:

    So E-P, if you really want to make your mark with your collected wisdom, try at least publishing something, since we need another David MacKay (RIP) to provide a path forward.

    While my file of saved blog comments is easily book-length at over 200,000 words, I’ve tried my hand at actual books and have never completed one.

    I’d be willing to work as part of a collaborative effort to freshen other things which have aged well, though.  One of them is Tom Blees’ “Prescription for the Planet”, which came out in 2008.  I’ve been reading it off and on over the last day and a half and while some technologies have advanced I’ve found very little that truly requires replacement (e.g. cold-cathode lights only seem to be used in autos, while LED lamps are now ubiquitous).  About the only thing you’d need to address is the gas glut produced by the fracking boom, and the wave of bankruptcies sweeping the industry may end that soon.

    Maybe tickle Blees to see if he’d go for a second edition?  I’d demand ground rules for revisions, though.  First, every claim of fact must be sourced.  Second, every single change goes through at least two reviewers who fact-check it.  Third, writers who chronically propose and fact-checkers who miss errors get removed from the project.  Last, Blees has to sign off on the results.

  46. 146

    Finnish firm launches SMR district heating project (which decarbonizes almost all energy in the region):

    https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Project-launched-to-develop-Finnish-SMR-for-distri

  47. 147
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson — The link to Oliver Schmidt’s storage lab in
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/705/lcoe-lace
    provides enough information to understand that infrequently used storage becomes very expensive. So dealing with long periods of low wind is costly for a grid with much wind power — when the wind blows.

    A good example is ERCOT Texas. There is plenty online to help one to understand just what happened in that energy-only, so-called, independent grid last summer.

  48. 148
    Mr. Know It All says:

    World hydro-electric dams destroying the ocean carbon cycle, reefs, increasing CO2 in the air, killing fish, etc:

    https://savethebaltic.wpcomstaging.com/2015/10/11/water-power-idustry-is-not-creating-green-electricity-it-creates-mordor/

    Scroll thru this PDF and read at least the yellow highlighted text on the horrors caused by hydro-electric dams:

    https://www.maine.gov/dep/ftp/projects/necec/public-interest/2019-02-14%20%20From%20Steve%20Kasprzak%20KaAttachment%202%20%20Hydro-Quebec's%20Dams%20Chokehold%20On%20The%20Gulf%20of%20Maine.pdf

    Lots more on Al Gore’s internet. ;)

  49. 149
  50. 150

    If you guys would just stop bickering, here is a success story:

    Way back in 2010 Rwanda had almost no electrified areas in the country, and they started a small hydro program.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoDqd8PGCFA

    Now they have installed in the last 10 years 22 hydroplants and 11 mini hydroplants for over 50% of their total electrical use.

    You can claim that here in USA maybe the expansion of full size hydroplants is limited, and thus not scale-able, but that is a nearsighted position for two reasons.

    1) Hydro as a renewable worldwide is far far from saturated like here in USA.
    2) Mini hydro is completely untapped almost everywhere including the US and Europe, and without the side effects of the large dams. Instead many many side benefits ecologically.

    There is your success story with hydro. It simply comes down to having the resolve to do it.