RealClimate logo


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. 351

    nigel, #340–

    More O/T stuff:

    The fundamental problem in much Africa is probably the intense tribalism and tribal conflicts (not that the USA is looking too different these days). This in turn leads to strong men being elected or grabbing power, in order to try to unify the tribes.

    True, but incomplete. The legacy of colonialism is also highly significant here, in multiple ways. Two of the more significant, IMO:

    1) Internalized self-debasement. We Commonwealth types even get a bit of this, I think, but Kiwis, Aussies & Canucks all have predominantly been more identified with the colonial power (“Mother Britain.”) Not the case for Indians, say, back in the days of the Raj, or “Rhodesians,” or so many others. But in Canada, there was a real process of claiming our own worth, observable over my lifetime. (It had multiple complications, such as American influence and the “Two Solitudes” of French and English Canada, not to mention First Nations, but that’s a whole other (off) topic.) My personal conclusion from observation: it’s hard for the colonized to feel that they are really ‘enough’–maybe even really ‘real’.

    2) Cultural genocide/trauma. Destruction of culture translates into both personal/familial traumas, and into lack of social capacity and coherence. That, in turn, has governmental and economic consequences.

    3) Boundaries aligned with the political/military success of colonizers rather than the historical affinities and ecological and economic systems of the land and its original inhabitants. Thus, historic enemies are forced together into polities, precisely when traumatized as above. It’s a recipe for conflict, including the strongmanism you mention.

  2. 352
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray L: I can look for interesting facts from a broad variety of sources, and I don’t have to put up with the yucky racist, candy coating.

    AB: Yeah, cemeteries are full of indispensible white men. Why, I’ve even heard that the Earth won’t explode when I die.

    There are lots of wells on this planet and many aren’t poisoned.

  3. 353
    nigelj says:

    Killian @334

    “Dear negligent,”

    Context suggests you mean me but you haven’t even got the manners to address people by their real names. Not a great start!

    “You made a small effort, yet still failed spectacularly. After how many years now, 3?, you have not learned a blessed thing. Or just a lying Neo-lib hack? They present the same, so hard to know. Accordng to your latest, you:”

    Falsehoods.

    “* Have read zero literature on collapse theory. Same question as all the other times: Then why are you putting fingers to keyboard?”

    That’s a falsehood.

    “* You repeat: Stopping takes a really long time! Much longer than a nearly new system! Prima facie barking words.”

    Another falsehood. I said @287 1) stopping most industrialisation rapidly will cause a host of problems, like huge shortages even of basics, and I’ve said elswhere it could cause a massive economic depression which could potentially collapse all production. S Strough mentioned something similar. Therefore its prudent to go slow. And 2) its unlikely people will be quick to adopt your plans anyway so it will inevitaably be slow. Pretty simple plain language I would have thought.

    “* You repeat: We must kill all the trees to be green! See previous.”

    Another falsehood. I said @287 that reliance on a huge simplification with its low tech looks like it would place huge reliance on timber. Let me amplify slightly to spell out that which should be obvious. Low tech means less use of steel and concrete for building,etc which means more use of timber. Forests are already declining so there’s a very real risk simplification at rapid pace could wipe out forests. It wouldn’t take much.

    According to you ‘simplification’ apparently also requires that we abandon using fossil fuels for electricity generation ( a good thing) but only permits building very small amounts of new wind and solar power so as to conserve mineral resources. You have stated America already has enough renewable energy. Even if people make robust reductions in use of energy it looks inevitable that there would be a huge increase in the use of timber for fuel and cooking. You have to apply some commensense to likely outcomes.

    “Apparently you no longer “believe” in the use of recycling, downcycling, reusing, repurposing and repairing, and that if we did cease most production as unnecessary you’d prefer to drop all the stuff we’ve made to the bottom of the sea or ask Superman to toss it into the sun. And this time, you’re flatly lying. We have talked about “appropriate technology” and “bridge technologies” many times.”

    Another falshood. I said this @287 : “Simplification at a slower pace and less ambitious scale starts to look more sensible and achievable. For example theres a case for some frugality in use of resources, recycling and wasting less both for environmental reasons and making sure resources are available for lower income people. ”

    And as I said things wear out and much of what we currently have will wear out fast. So ideas about stopping most industrial production will rapidly create shortages. The little bit of industrial production left may well not be be sufficient for your “technology backbone” plus producing spare parts, etc. You certainly haven’t demonstrated it would be, or even precisely defined what a technology backbone includes. You did say something about people giving up cars and using buses as part of that backbone. That will require a hell of a lot of new buses!

    Like I said, some sort of reduction in our reliance on technology does make sense to me, and Im not against some of the basic principles being espoused, but stopping most industrial production within a decade looks too ambitious and problematic for reasons already stated. If simplification is done more slowly and at moderate levels we have a chance of adapting to the process with fewer problems, and it will be less destablising etcetera.

    “Let me help you with collapse: Search for “collapse” and “societal” and/or “civilization.” Try also seneca cliff, rapid, catabolic, etc.”

    I’ve already read about this stuff. Our society is indeed at risk of collapse. In which case we could be forced back to the simplified sort of lifestyle you promote, so its hard to know why you worry from that perspective. But obviously we should move to ‘prevent’ a collapse, but there are options for how we do that and solutions need to have some chance of public buy in at scale.

    You said previously “Shed yourself of your self-inlficted, intentional ignorance of very simple knowledge and read something about controlled vs uncontrolled simplification. ”

    I asked for an internet reference, and I’m still waiting….Looks to me like you don’t have anything.

    I’m trying not to make this personal or get bogged down in petty exchanges about details within details and definitions etc. I don’t have the time or inclination for that. I’m just interested in the issues and challenges, but a rapid huge scale simplification plan looks problematic, and a toned down version hits more of a sweet spot for me.

    I suppose we just have to agree to disagree.

  4. 354
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury @345, curiously enough Ive just been listening to a Calos Santana music album called “Africa Speaks”, inspired by African Music. I agree racism is morally wrong and intellectually lazy. Presumably its a primal back part of the brain fear of strangers, and part of the nasty pleasure humans get out of annoying others that AB mentioned. Anyone can overcome all this slime with a little bit of effort.

    That said, I try to look at peoples actual core ideas on the climate thing and with EP its nuclear power. Renewables are obviously feasible, but it leads to a complex and expensive system if done at full scale. A lot is being gambled that storage costs will fall a lot. The system will work and is much better overall than fossil fuels obviously, but it seems to me crazy to ignore nuclear power given its a proven technology at reasonable cost, in many places anyway and its not as unsafe as is often portrayed. Or we have a combined system. But if you know something I don’t, I’m all ears.

  5. 355
    Al Bundy says:

    I suppose I ought to apologize for deliberately pulling the E-P racist hand grenade pin. It blew up exactly as I planned.

    But dang it, I don’t feel guilty at all.

  6. 356

    E-P 343: Not even Wikipedia is down with your narrative. Even it admits that the kingdom which built the “Great Zimbabwe” (which is trivial compared to the works of most other civilizations, both old-world and new) was long gone by the time that the Portuguese made contact with the kingdom of Mutapa:

    BPL: Except that they were smelting iron in Zimbabwe 2,000 years ago, which was some 1,500 years before the Portuguese made contact with the kingdom of Mutapa.

  7. 357
    zebra says:

    Some On-Topic News From UV,

    Thanks to BPL:

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/3/14/21177941/climate-change-coal-renewable-energy

    Here’s some of the text (my bold):

    What’s notable is that, across the world, coal’s fortunes vary inversely with the degree of market competition. Where there is more competition, there is less coal. Where there is more corporate welfare, more monopolistic utilities, more lobbying of lawmakers and capture of regulators, more socioeconomic resistance from areas dependent on fossil fuel plants for local revenue, there is more coal.

    … policymakers should move toward more lightly regulated, competitive energy markets, with more “price discovery” through regular interaction of buyers and sellers.

    So, as I pointed out to David Benson about ERCOT, the price peaks he was complaining about are exactly how it is supposed to work. And this article seems to agree with my suggestion that it would work even better if you increase granularity and reduce middle-persons where possible, making it more like a true market.

  8. 358

    Al Bundy gets taken by the fallacy of equivocation @346:

    Nigel’s link sarys that we can build four(?) times as much renewables capacity for the same cost as nuclear.

    I normally don’t read the ruinable propaganda pieces, but you made me go have a look.  Wikipedia (currently) says that Phase 2 part 2 came in at $344 million for 200 MW rated ($1.72/W).  But that’s for a likely capacity factor 0f 0.246, so the project actually came in at about $6.99 per average watt.  Contrast Kepco at $4.76/average watt assuming a 92% capacity factor.  Further note that PV panels have a useful lifespan of perhaps 20 years in the desert heat, while the nuclear plants being built today will easily run for 80 years and likely longer.  If any of us live to see the Barakah units decommissioned, it’ll be because new nuclear with far lower O&M costs replaced them.

    I further note that phase 3 of the project includes 600 MW(p) of CSP using parabolic trough collectors.  This is the sort of thing which can use solar salt for heat storage and continue to run after sundown.  UAE obviously recognizes the need for firm power delivery rather than “demand response”.  The PV is all good too, as it will produce peak power at about the time when A/C demand peaks (especially if it is aimed west rather than south) but what it’s mostly doing is saving fuel at the gas-fired generators rather than fully replacing them.

  9. 359
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @358 — I didn’t and don’t complain about the wholesale price peaks in the day ahead energy markets. And if you bothered to learn about PJM style markets, there are no “middle persons”. It is as close to a so-called perfect market as is consistent with reliability and safety.

    I have no idea what granularity is to signify in a wholesale electricity market.

  10. 360
    nigelj says:

    Killian

    The other problem is your plan requires according to you”stopping most industrial production” (and quickly) which would surely have to mean at least 75% maybe more, and at the same time you want to keep a “technology backbone / bridge” that has to provide a wide range of infrastructure, you have quoted basic medical, communications, transport etcetera, and that provides a significantly better life than a primitive subsistence farmer. I dont think you can achieve both those goals at once, when you consider what you need in a technology backbone.

    The thing is most industrial production goes on pretty useful things, not actually toys. For example how do you maintain your “communications backbone”? Is it cell phones, land lines, internet, radio, what? Cell phones rely on cell towers, the phone network relies on satelites, all this stuff needs either building or replacing. The more you chop out the more primitive the network becomes. Then theres transport, medicine, etc.

    You might make it work with a phased in 25% reduction in industrial production, all other things being equal. Bearing in mind global population will still be growing for at least another 25 years and putting a strain on things as well. People have tripped up many times with grand plans that haven’t gone beyond generalities to actual details.

  11. 361
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @351

    “True, but incomplete. The legacy of colonialism is also highly significant here,….”

    Agreed. Indiginous peoples were conquered in such a devastaing fashion I can believe it would cause for want of a better word a psychological humiliation and form if cultural depression where it takes a very long time to recover, and which leads to all sorts of social and economic problems. Much has been written on this.

    It’s getting OT so Im not going to spend too much time on it, but I wanted to acknowledge the basic point. Still, people have to also try very hard to put the past behind them, we all do….

  12. 362
    Al Bundy says:

    NigelJ: That’s a falsehood.

    AB: You knew he was a snake when you chose to interact with him. Stop whining.

  13. 363
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Solar energy largely vanishes in winter when needed most

    AB: LOL. I’ve built homes that utilize solar to provide essentially all of their heating and hot water via solar. It’s friggin easy.

  14. 364

    E-P 356: Solar energy largely vanishes in winter

    BPL: No, E-P, the latitude of a location in winter is just tilted away from the Sun. The Sun is still there. You just adjust the tilt of the solar panel. Honestly, this isn’t hard. Do you want a diagram?

  15. 365
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Nigelj,
    Look, I’m not even particularly against nukes. I am bothered by the fact that nukes have never been a profitable endeavor–despite massive gummint subsidies–and by the fact that nobody knows what to do with the waste. EP is less pro-nuke than he is anti-green. He supports nukes because it allows him to punch hippies. He probably keys Priuses in the parking lot. If I want facts on nukes, I’ll read Dave B’s missives, or I’ll go to any of a number of pro-nuke sites.

    Renewables, on the other hand, are growing massively, and storage technology is advancing rapidly. Why not meet whatever demand we can through conservation and renewables–especially when it’s not clear that nukes are even a viable option?

    And certainly, we don’t need the assistance of a monomaniac like EP.

  16. 366
    Al Bundy says:

    zebra: my suggestion that it would work even better if you increase granularity and reduce middle-persons where possible

    AB: Only if one is stupid enough to not use middle-persons who are non-profit.

  17. 367
    Killian says:

    The dumbass says he this:

    ““Let me help you with collapse: Search for “collapse” and “societal” and/or “civilization.” Try also seneca cliff, rapid, catabolic, etc.”

    I’ve already read about this stuff…

    Then says this: “I asked for an internet reference, and I’m still waiting….Looks to me like you don’t have anything.”

    Who can take this shit seriously?

  18. 368
    nigelj says:

    Some other good news (if there’s such a thing these days), also related to coal:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uks-co2-emissions-have-fallen-29-per-cent-over-the-past-decade

    “Analysis: UK’s CO2 emissions have fallen 29% over the past decade”

    I think this is pretty impressive, relatively speaking to the rest of the world. If the UK can its hard to see why others can’t.

    The reason emissions have fallen relates in large part to more renewables, less coal, and higher energy efficiency. Old nuclear power plants are being shut down but there are plans for new ones. Apparently some coal fired plant has been converted to use biofuels (Drax).

    The UK electricity system is a privatised market system.

    I noticed the article didn’t mention that one big factor probably driving this is that the UK have created a non partisan government body to advise parliament on climate mitigation, and the UK have legislation setting emissions goals:

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

  19. 369
    zebra says:

    #360 David Benson,

    ??..You’ve mentioned the price peaks multiple times, in a way that seems to have negative connotations.

    I don’t know how you think that the concept of “middle-person” doesn’t exist if you have “wholesale” and “retail”… the retailer is obviously in the middle.

    What I’ve proposed multiple times is having the grid operator facilitate direct transactions between consumers and generators. The “most granular” would be one individual buying electricity from a neighbor with solar panels.

    Of course, that’s not something that will happen immediately, so there would obviously be independent “retailers” or “bundlers” with whom you can contract/interact. But there’s no real technological impediment to having consumers “shop” for electricity in real time.

    The point, of course, is to send that “price signal”, so people can make decisions about conservation and demand management and so on.

  20. 370

    #358, E-P–

    Yes, the straight-up build costs, adjusted for CF, may give a slight edge to the Barakah reactors. But then you’ve got to operate them.

    Under an $880 million operating support services agreement (OSSA) signed in July 2017 by KHNP and ENEC, KHNP will supply 400 qualified staff to support Nawah Energy until 2030. The KNHP contract includes fuel supply for three cycles of all four units.

    https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/united-arab-emirates.aspx

    So, $88 million per year, presuming that power comes online this year as expected. Presuming, just for the sake of argument, that the reactors are refurbed & relicensed to operate for 4 20-year cycles–as E-P so confidently predicts, and at what additional cost we don’t know–that would be another ~$7 billion in operating costs attributable to this contract.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Earlier in November 2018 it was announced that EDF is to provide services to Nawah Energy Company to support the operation and maintenance of the Barakah plant. The ten-year agreement covers areas including fuel cycle management, operational safety and radiation protection, and environmental monitoring.

    And:

    In June 2019, Nawah Energy Company signed a long-term maintenance services agreement with KHNP, supported by KEPCO Plant Service & Engineering (KEPCO KPS) to support routine and outage maintenance activities.

    And:

    Nawah Energy Company also signed a five-year maintenance agreement with Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction.

    No numbers given for those contracts, unfortunately. (I did look at several reports, but none of the press releases seem to have disclosed financial terms.) But it’s safe to conclude that these specialized services aren’t cheap.

    Now, to be sure, O & M for a solar park isn’t zero, either. But given that it’s the other ingredient in the formula for LCOE, and that solar PV is walloping nuclear in that metric, we can be darn sure it’s considerably lower than the nuclear case. (Now, E-P has expressed disdain for LCOE in the past, saying that LACE is the only metric that should be considered. However, in that he is at odds with most energy analysts, who find LACE and LCOE to be complementary metrics.)

  21. 371
    Ray Ladbury says:

    AB: You knew he was a snake when you chose to interact with him. Stop whining.

    RL: Hey, now don’t go libeling snakes. Unlike some commenters, they at least fill a useful ecological niche! Plus, they’re cool

  22. 372

    Al Bundy brags @364:

    I’ve built homes that utilize solar to provide essentially all of their heating and hot water via solar. It’s friggin easy.

    Now try it where you don’t even get 8 hours from sunrise to sunset, it doesn’t even get 1/4 of the way to zenith at noon and your typical day has clouds blocking 75% of that.

    There’s a reason I keep a heaping shitload of firewood.  BPL piles on:

    No, E-P, the latitude of a location in winter is just tilted away from the Sun. The Sun is still there. You just adjust the tilt of the solar panel.

    Let’s see you intercept what ain’t there.  Get back to me after a few cloudy winter solstice days at 45 degrees N.

  23. 373
    David B. Benson says:

    Ray Ladbury @365 — On the contrary:
    1. Many nuclear power plants are profitable. Those in ERCOT Texas have no difficulty competing in the day-ahead market.
    2. Disposing of so-called waste is technically solved. It has been a political problem. For a real waste problem, consider coal ash.

  24. 374

    Ray Ladbury wrote @ (what is now) 365:

    I’m not even particularly against nukes. I am bothered by the fact that nukes have never been a profitable endeavor–despite massive gummint subsidies

    Funny, France has made nukes a profitable endeavor.  So have Ontario, S. Korea, China and apparently the UAE as well.  They have a few things in common:

    1.  They came up with standard designs and then built several to bunches of them.
    2.  They do not have a hostile regulatory apparatus.

    The USA has seen outright sabotage of the nuclear industry by means like the appointment of anti-nuclear activist Jaczko to the NRC.  More subtle sabotage includes the non-scientific setting of radiation exposure standards by a certain office at the EPA.  If you want to look for costs to slash, you can start there.  The anti-scientific impact of radiation exposure standards causes damage across society, resulting in inadequate diagnostic imaging in medicine and dentistry (I’ve been personally affected by that last one).

    and by the fact that nobody knows what to do with the waste.

    I’d prefer to see it used as fuel for fast-neutron reactors, but until people yield to reality it’s just fine sitting in steel and concrete casks.  It hasn’t hurt a single member of the public yet.

    EP is less pro-nuke than he is anti-green.

    You reverse cause and effect.  Greens (save for a few intrepid Finns, it seems) are anti-nuclear and are obviously financed by fossil-fuel interests.  I am against them like I’m against every other variety of fraud and deceit.

    Warren Buffet invests in wind farms because the tax subsidies make them extremely profitable.  There’s your reason for rapid expansion:  the public is paying for it.  Socialized cost, privatized profit.

    He supports nukes because it allows him to punch hippies. He probably keys Priuses in the parking lot.

    LOL!  You’re wrong about literally everything.

    As I write this, I am at the car dealership having my 2013 Ford Fusion Energi checked out.  Yes, I was an early adopter of PHEV technology (when I suddenly needed a new car, I accepted the challenge).  I am achieving something like twice the fuel economy a Prius can get:  the trip computer read 128.6 MPG lifetime average when I pulled in here.

    Not having a Prius is an advantage when selling the technology to others because a Fusion isn’t an ideological statement.  People look at the lighted circle around the charging port and ask “what’s that?”  I then have a chance to give them the nickle tour.

    Renewables, on the other hand, are growing massively, and storage technology is advancing rapidly.

    “Storage” is supposed to be the answer to unreliability.  So far, nobody’s really made this work on an industrial scale.  We’ve got some islands running on PV and batteries and El Hierro having some luck with wind plus pumped hydro, but those are only good deals compared to expensive diesel generators.

    Despite 40 years of effort, Denmark’s electric power is still something like 4x as dirty as France’s has been for the last 25, and Denmark has little prospect of decarbonizing its motor fuel and space heat.  Meanwhile, the new AP1000 reactors in Haiyang are producing both electric power and district heat.  Electrify the vehicle fleet and you get rid of almost all the sources of both GHGs and criteria air pollutants.

    Why not meet whatever demand we can through conservation and renewables–especially when it’s not clear that nukes are even a viable option?

    The AP1000 is a Westinghouse design.  China is building these things and making them work.  How can you claim they are not a viable option?  Nuclear and hydro are the ONLY proven solutions.  Ask Dr. James Hansen himself.  Oh, wait… he already told you.  Why won’t you believe HIM?

    And certainly, we don’t need the assistance of a monomaniac like EP.

    Apparently you do, because you have to be dragged kicking and screaming to reality.  Here’s a piece of reality that you really hate, but is proven by decades and centuries of experience:  “You can take all the wind and all the solar you want, and it’s not going to solve the problem.”

  25. 375
    nigelj says:

    Killian @376 mentions Senecas cliff but provides no specific source or citation. This relates to how societies respond economically to running out of fossil fuels in the longer term. There is no mention of his term “staged simplification” in anything Ive read, so as usual we are all left having to guess. Perhaps he must mean society collapses in stages which is self evident anyway.

    None of this relates to my initial point that a rapid (within a decade) and deliberate simplification at scale could cause massive shortages and a huge economic depression. Not enough time for civilisation to adapt. It would be difficult to plan a phased slow down within a decade and avoid trouble and its unlikely there would be a planned slow down because simplification apparently involves people just abandoning the current system. So the questions are left unanswered, and its hard to have any confidence in so called ‘simplification’.

    ——————

    Ray Ladbury @365, ha ha you could be right. A couple of other people on this website are tiresome monomaniacs. Electricity grids have historically contained a mix of generation and I suspect this will continue regardless of our musings.

  26. 376
    nigelj says:

    Yeah snakes are cool, but I stumbled on this by accident a few days ago, not a place I want to be:

    https://allthatsinteresting.com/snake-island

  27. 377
    Al Bundy says:

    NigelJ: Apparently some coal fired plant has been converted to use biofuels (Drax).

    AB: I’ve watched shows that talk about the counting of emissions from Drax. Whether the place reduces emissions in fact or just on paper is debatable.

  28. 378
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Get back to me after a few cloudy winter solstice days at 45 degrees N.

    AB: Get back to me after a heat wave and drought eliminates any hope of cooling a nuke. Why play the “If you do it inappropriately and in the wrong place it won’t work” card? Pretty much everyone here except you is advocating a broad range of energy sources.

  29. 379
    Killian says:

    Re #360 nigelj said The other problem is your plan requires according to you”stopping most industrial production” (and quickly) which would surely have to mean at least 75% maybe more

    The problem is the solution.

    One man’s problem is a wise man’s opportunity.

    Hmmmm… so if we stop the massive waste of doing things we don’t need to to, we couldn’t cover three basic, greatly reduced, systems?

    The problem here is you, nigel. You never come back with solutioneering, only trying to play “Gotcha!” Stop trying to poke holes in what you have little command of and start trying to understand it, instead. Even if you continue to disagree, if you never come to understand what you oppose, you’re just barking words.

    Learn and understand first, talk second.

  30. 380
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: The dumbass says he this:

    AB: I have nothing to add to that erudite sentence.

  31. 381
    Adam Lea says:

    363: “LOL. I’ve built homes that utilize solar to provide essentially all of their heating and hot water via solar. It’s friggin easy.”

    If you really mean that, I’d love to know how. Here in southern (and other regions of the) UK, we have just had a solid six months of dull wet weather, culminating in the wettest February on record nationally. I find it hard to believe that for where I live, getting 100% of heating and hot water requirements from solar is easy, unless there is some implication that you have to have your house at single digit temperatures (deg C), combatting the discomfort by wearing more clothes, and you are willing to bathe or shower in cold water, or you live much closer to the equator than me.

  32. 382
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @369 — The tasks performed by the retailers of electrical power have to be done by somebody. In general it is better to have specialists at each of the tasks. For example, few buy wheat from the grain grower; most don’t have their own mill. In the case of electricity one just taps from the grid and leaves the detailed to the various specialists of which the generators is but one.

    It would indeed help you to learn just how a grid functions. As well as other actual markets, no just beginning textbook ideal ones.

  33. 383
    nigelj says:

    Killian @379

    “Hmmmm… so if we stop the massive waste of doing things we don’t need to to, we couldn’t cover three basic, greatly reduced, systems?”

    What things don’t we need to do? My point is until you list specific things, and quantify things (at least approximately) nobody is sure what you mean, and you aren’t going to get any traction with me and probably other people on this website, especially given people here are trained to be detailed and specific and quantify issues.

    And separating wants and needs is not as easy as you think. For example tourism is obviously not required for our survival, but for many people its a deep psychological need (although I’m not personally a huge fan of travel).

    Here’s another aspect of the problem. Some activities are arguably obviously wasteful, such as war (although some argue it creates technological innovation, not sure I buy into this it would have happened anyway). But war is always a possibility so its a brave country that doesn’t have a defence force. It will be hard persuading anyone they shouldn’t have a defence force (although I try to persuade our government’s that spending a fortune on the military is insanity.)

    Modern communications would be seen as a basic need by many people.

    Motorised transport might be seen as a basic need given so many people live a significant distance form places of work. This could all be changed but it will take quite some time.

    We could define needs as air, water, food and shelter, and basic medicine, but how many people do you think would be prepared to accept that as sufficient for a reasonable lifestyle?

    There are some things we could all do without and where you might get a majority consensus: Large homes, three televisions in every home, etcetera, but this will fall well short of “stopping most industrial production”.

    Our civilisation wastes things in other ways, food in particular because so much is thrown away. But how do you persuade people to stop doing that?

    So to some extent your own ideas are barking words.

    “The problem here is you, nigel. You never come back with solutioneering, only trying to play “Gotcha!” Stop trying to poke holes in what you have little command of and start trying to understand it, instead. Even if you continue to disagree, if you never come to understand what you oppose, you’re just barking words.”

    No I don’t play gotcha. I make a conscious effort not to do that.

    As far as solutions go I can only repeat what I’ve said before: The IPCC have the right general solution, namely renewable energy ( nuclear power is ok by me as well), negative emissions strategies and moderate reductions in our personal carbon footprints and per capita energy use. I cant think of anything else huge that we could add to this list. If people dont follow the prescription, humanity is asking for trouble.

    I accept your observations that we do have a related resource limits problem looming particularly with minerals. This was obvious to me way back in the 1980s when limits to growth was published. Its nothing new to me. The UN says we are using the equivalent of 1 1/2 earths each year. However this number suggests we should reduce industrial production by maybe one quarter along with more recycling and less landfill waste, not “stopping most industrial production”.

    Your more dramatic plan to stop most industrial production, and quite rapidly, appears to be based on the fear that mineral resource scarcity could cause extinction of the human race. This seems implausible, given people survived for millenia with simple wood based culture.

    Humanity will be forced to adapt to growing shortages and will have to simplify to some extent anyway. You will get what you want as a matter of course. Our generation can help reduce the problem for future generations by recycling, wasting less and so on, things you appear to also support, but draconian measures of deliberately abandoning most industry and doing it rapidly look like it would cause more harm than good.

  34. 384
    nigelj says:

    AB @377

    “I’ve watched shows that talk about the counting of emissions from Drax. Whether the place reduces emissions in fact or just on paper is debatable.”

    Yeah so have I. Could be a close run thing. However Drax also provides reactive power to the system. Turbine power at this scale is good at creating reactive power where wind turbines struggle, apparently.

  35. 385
    Michael Sweet says:

    The Barakah reactors are “cheap” because they do not have safety features required by the EU and the USA. It would be impossible to build reactors for the low bid cost in those countries. In addition, they do not include the cost of being 4 years late in connecting to the grid. It is easy to make something cheap when you build crap and do not count all the costs.

    “That bargain-basement price was made possible, the report notes, thanks to a lack of “key improved safety design features” normally expected on new European reactors but missing from those built by KEPCO.

    Such features include a so-called “core catcher” to prevent the nuclear reactor core from breaching the containment building in the event of a meltdown and other defences to guard against a significant radiation release in the event of an accident or deliberate attack on the facility.

    Further compounding these omissions, says the report, is “the discovery of cracking in all 4 reactor containment buildings” and the installation of faulty valves – all of which cast doubt over the UAE’s ability to provide “adequate nuclear regulation””

    Source: Al Jazeera https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/uae-nuclear-reactors-imperil-gulf-200117180846816.html

  36. 386

    Al Bundy goes all defensive @378:

    Get back to me after a heat wave and drought eliminates any hope of cooling a nuke.

    Palo Verde works in Phoenix, in the summer.  It works under conditions which will still be way extreme for most of the world even in a 3° scenario.

    As it happens, I’m digging into numbers for a hybrid wet/dry natural draft cooling tower design for a Palo Verde II assuming a supercritical CO2 cycle.  It would only use water to lower the inlet air temperature enough to meet the 32°C pre-cooler outlet temperature, which would almost never be required in winter.  Most heat rejection would be through sensible heat; there would be no visible vapor at the top.  Tower outlet air temperature would be about 60°C, much warmer than ambient.

    Why play the “If you do it inappropriately and in the wrong place it won’t work” card?

    Because that’s most of the ways and most places for “renewables”.  We’re still waiting for Germany to get its grid CO2 intensity even down to US levels.

    Pretty much everyone here except you is advocating a broad range of energy sources.

    Yet nobody here BUT me suggests following the examples of France, Sweden and Ontario, which decarbonized their electricity far more thoroughly than any “Green” country almost literally by accident.

    I have no objection to experimenting with intermittent energy sources.  I object to them being placed in front of proven solutions to this planetary-scale problem.  If you can generate wind or solar energy cheaply enough that you can send it to electrofuel plants and beat the cost of surplus nuclear, more power to you (pun intended).  But as the primary sources of energy, when every prediction of WHY they would fail has come true?  It is time to treat those predictions as winning bets, and force the losers to pay up and step down from authority.

  37. 387
    Al Bundy says:

    Adam Lea: or you live much closer to the equator than me.

    AB: Yes it was. I don’t live there now, but twas in Atlanta. I’m guessing 20 degrees south of you and certainly far less cloudy. And “essentially all” is an overstatement. “Vast majority” is more accurate.

    The Rocky Mountain Institute is a grand resource. Amory Lovins lives lots higher and further north. The “problem” with natural systems is that they aren’t plug and play. You’ve got to consider location and user habits and tolerances. England is not solar-friendly for sure.

    The further north the more biofuels and nuclear make sense. When I lived on Vancouver Island we used a wood stove. Is a wood stove entertainment that provides free heat? It’s a similar climate as England and Ireland (way warm for latitude and wetter in the west), but VI has incredible amounts of wood. Heating is “free” as long as you’ve got a chainsaw.

    And much depends on insulation. A semi-submerged double-glazed greenhouse (I believe Killian has championed those – my Atlanta house’s attached greenhouse’s three-foot high raised beds were at ground level) with double or triple glazed windows between the greenhouse and the house, along with R40+ house insulation and few or no direct-to-outside windows makes the heat source way less relevant.

  38. 388
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: if you never come to understand what you oppose, you’re just barking words.

    AB: Dude, you attack yourself. You have never ever attempted to understand anything that anyone here has offered. Why?

    In contrast, I scrupulously insist on giving alternative views far more consideration than my own. Perhaps we can join forces. You, me, and EP. Do you and EP care more about the planet than your egos?

    Seriously, I have and still admit that I’m nowhere near acceptable. I only maintain that bare acceptability is my goal and I will work tirelessly towards that goal. How about you guys?

  39. 389
    zebra says:

    #382 David Benson,

    “leave the details to the various specialists”

    Yes, if only Elon Musk had left the details of automobile drive-trains, and rocket booster economics, to the moribund “specialist” engineers… whose job security depended/depends on monopolistic control of the market…

    I’m really surprised, David, that you exhibit a bit of the same kind of Authoritarian, backwards-looking worldview as EP. Perhaps it’s a “thing”, and why people can become so attached to a klugey tech like nuclear.

    The world is changing. What I said is correct, unless you care to refute it:

    There is no technological reason that an individual can’t buy electricity from a neighbor who has solar panels.

    The only requirement is that the grid operator acts as a common carrier. As I said, of course there might be a “retailer” who bundles sources, but that’s purely administrative…there’s no hardware. And of course the bundlers must be subject to regulation to avoid monopoly.

  40. 390

    Adam Lea, #381–

    Per this source, there are hundreds of examples of passive-solar houses in the UK:

    http://www.cherrymortgages.com/sustainable_zero_carbon_housing/passivhaus.htm

    (And many more in Germany & Scandinavia.)

  41. 391
    zebra says:

    #381 Adam Lea,

    As I and others have been trying to point out, over and over, of course it depends on your geographical/local-climate situation…that applies to building design as well as how to generate electricity.

    It is obviously harder (more expensive) to do it in your location than in, say, Florida or Arizona, but a properly designed building can need a very small amount of energy for heating. And many of the individual features involved are not at all expensive… better insulation, better sealing, and some thermal mass, for example. Combine that with heat pump technology, and you would see a drastic reduction in energy used.

    So, you might need input from wind or other sources with the weather you described, but that doesn’t change the underlying principles. The construction industry, just like electricity and autos, clings to “the way we’ve always done it” because it is in their economic interest.

  42. 392
    mike says:

    at MAR and others tracking Covid and CO2 accumulation: There is some evidence being reported that the economic slowdown is turning the CO2 level down a bit already. I moved this discussion over from UV, but I don’t know where it really fits. It’s not like anyone wanted to reduce emissions by use of a deadly pandemic. Read about it here: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51944780?xtor=ES-213-%5BBBC%20News%20Newsletter%5D-2020March19-%5Btop+news+stories%5D

  43. 393

    zebra throws his favorite slur again @389:

    I’m really surprised, David, that you exhibit a bit of the same kind of Authoritarian, backwards-looking worldview as EP.

    You use “authoritarian” a lot.  You use it to deflect questions, like “why can’t you show any examples of this Great New Scheme you claim we’re all going to have?” and “why not copy the PROVEN success stories out there?”

    All it shows is the emptiness of your own thinking, your own placement of ideology ahead of fact.  It probably bugs the heck out of you that there is an ultimate authority on all of this.  It’s called nature and natural law:  physics and chemistry, to be specific.  Nature can’t be fooled by empty words, as you are and try to do to others.

    Perhaps it’s a “thing”, and why people can become so attached to a klugey tech like nuclear.

    Said “klugey tech” is primarily responsible for France’s grid emitting 1/10 the CO2 per kWh as Germany’s, and the Ontario grid emitting just 34.61 gCO2/kWh over the last hour.  Nobody has de-fossilized a non-hydro based grid any other way.  “Renewables” aren’t just a kludge, Germany has proven them to be an utter failure. 

    The world is changing. What I said is correct, unless you care to refute it:

    There is no technological reason that an individual can’t buy electricity from a neighbor who has solar panels.

    Says the clown who knows literally less than nothing about the relevant technology.  You’d have to spend a bunch of time un-learning the lies you chose to believe before you could absorb anything relevant.  For one thing, your new technology would have to have a real-time communications link so that the buyer is not consuming any more or less power than the seller is putting on the grid, minus losses.  Then you’d have to provide billing for transmission and ancillary services like reactive power and frequency control.  The technology for doing this on a household-to-household basis does not exist, and likely cannot be made stable enough to be usable.

    The only requirement is that the grid operator acts as a common carrier.

    The grid is more like a road network.  There are short roads and long roads, superhighways and narrow country lanes.  You cannot suddenly funnel 3000 vehicles per hour down a country lane, and you can’t treat limited-capacity links according to “common carrier” rules where they are forced to take whatever people want to move across them.  It literally cannot be done.

    These things are limited by the “authoritarian” laws of physics.  Purge that word from your vocabulary, it’s a big part of the delusional nature of your ideology (I won’t call it “thinking”).

  44. 394

    zebra dismisses unwelcome realities out of hand @391:

    It is obviously harder (more expensive) to do it in your location than in, say, Florida or Arizona, but a properly designed building can need a very small amount of energy for heating. And many of the individual features involved are not at all expensive… better insulation, better sealing, and some thermal mass, for example.

    It is only “not at all expensive” if you are building anew.  Retrofits in e.g. stone or brick buildings with solid walls can be VERY expensive, and costly in things like living space if the insulation is applied on the interior.

    In at least one case, trying to retrofit on the cheap was very costly.  Taking a low bid at Grenfell Tower cost 72 people their LIVES.  Reality is that the existing building stock has a huge amount of embodied energy and cost, and cannot be replaced either quickly or cheaply.

    You’re projecting your own authoritarian impulses when you push minimum-energy schemes, because that’s what your “green” authorities demand so as much as possible can come from “renewables”.  You won’t even think about considering the general question:  how to get things to net negative emissions† in a hurry, which is such a huge job that you have to take the least-cost path.  Germany has shown how NOT to do it.

    † We need net negative to the tune of some tens of billions of tons per year, because we are already at dangerous levels of warmth even if we haven’t gone past critical tipping points.  If we have gone past tipping points, we need to race ahead of them which means moving even faster.

  45. 395

    Michael Sweet quotes a highly biased source @385:

    (seriously, you should think twice about using Al Jazeera, a source which (a) is owned by a party which is direct competition with nuclear energy [Qatar’s gas shipments are threatened by nuclear electric plants], and (b) is written in a near-hysterical tone; there is no prospect of nuclear weapons materials coming from the reactors at Barakah.)

    The Barakah reactors are “cheap” because they do not have safety features required by the EU and the USA. It would be impossible to build reactors for the low bid cost in those countries. In addition, they do not include the cost of being 4 years late in connecting to the grid. It is easy to make something cheap when you build crap and do not count all the costs.

    Funny, I say the same thing about “renewables” which don’t provide regulation or reactive power or frequency control and foist that work onto other parties.

    “That bargain-basement price was made possible, the report notes, thanks to a lack of “key improved safety design features” normally expected on new European reactors but missing from those built by KEPCO.

    By “new European reactors” they presumably mean the EPR, which is just one design with only two units under construction between France and Finland.

    Such features include a so-called “core catcher” to prevent the nuclear reactor core from breaching the containment building in the event of a meltdown and other defences to guard against a significant radiation release in the event of an accident or deliberate attack on the facility.

    Such features are almost certainly overkill.  TMI Unit 2 had a meltdown and the reactor pressure vessel was unscathed.  Designs such as old GE BWRs with the control-rod drives coming through penetrations in the bottom are at risk, but not PWRs.

    Further compounding these omissions, says the report, is “the discovery of cracking in all 4 reactor containment buildings” and the installation of faulty valves

    Deliberately confusing the welded-steel containment with the shield building around it.  Concrete almost always cracks anyway, it’s something you expect and design for.  The reinforcing rods are there for exactly that event, and the shield building remains more than strong enough to do its job.

    This article rates a 1/5.

  46. 396
    nigelj says:

    David B. Benson @382, zebra understand how things work in the existing grid. Hes promoting a new type of grid (to some extent) where people buy and sell to each other. Just mentioning all this to try to stop the repetitive crossed communication like ground hog day!

    I think his idea works in theory, but is perhaps one of those things that may not actually achieve much in reality. As you say there’s a reason economic systems have middle men. There’s an obvious difference between ‘Uber’ and getting your electricity because the later is a more complex issue with complex contracts.

    Here’s a thought. Say we have a suburb of perhaps 10,000 homes with solar panels all interconnected so people can share power, buying and selling to each other. Given the weather conditions are going to be the same for all homes its a bit hard to see that people would want to buy and sell power. Those who have a surplus of power would not find a buyer. Such grids would work better across long distances where weather patterns vary.

    Although some people might have a large array of solar panels and could sell power to those less able to afford as many solar panels. Microgrid capitalism or monopoly, but it just creates a new form of inequality.

  47. 397
    nigelj says:

    Killian @379, what I’m getting at is that the technology backbone idea of basic transport, healthcare and communications is a big part of current industrial production. Note that it also requires electricity generation. It only really excludes mainly entertainment, processed foods, clothing and industrially made building materials perhaps air travel.

    And stripping back the technology backbone to very basic services will render it useless very fast. So we still need a substantial amount of conventional industry.

    In addition making clothing and building homes mostly by hand with 19th century cottage industry craft skills and simple tools is massively time consuming. All this while people have to grow their own food or operate communal farms.

  48. 398
    mike says:

    good work, Al. I have found you to be consistently barely acceptable.

  49. 399
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @389 — “the grid operator acts as a common carrier” Read any graduate level power engineering text about grids to discover why that is, in the strict sense, impossible. To come close requires what are called ancillary services.

    Next, there is the matter of providing the delivered power efficiently. You may try your hand at improving the PJM style of power marketing, but first you ought to understand it:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/714/pjm-style-electricity-markets

    Finally, are the rules “fair” for all participants? Here are other “fair” markets to suggest ideas:
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/social-procedures/
    I am of the opinion that the assignment of transmission costs in the ERCOT market “unfairly” advantages the West Texas wind farmers.

    With that as a background, you ought to be able to see why buying from your neighbor is a naive,inefficient and possibly unfair aspiration.

    As it is, both of us are repeating. That is discouraged here on Real Climate. Therefore I have no further interest in continuing until you educate yourself.

  50. 400
    zebra says:

    #399 David Benson,

    As I suggested, telling me to read the text created by the traditional electricity sector is like telling Elon Musk to read the one created by the legacy auto industry.

    I understand that you are unwilling to address what I said because you have no answer.

    Right now, all over the world, people are buying electricity generated by their neighbor’s solar panels. They send a check to the utility, and the utility sends a check to the neighbor.

    The check the consumer sends pays the utility for the service of delivering the electricity, and for the cost of purchasing it from the neighbor, with various types of fees and transaction costs. Every electric bill I’ve ever seen works like that.

    The grid… has not… exploded!

    So my statement is correct. There is no technological impediment to me directly contracting with my neighbor for the generation, and separately contracting with the utility for delivery.

    That’s what makes it a common carrier paradigm.

    And invoking obfuscatory industry jargon like “ancillary services” is not useful. It is simply up to the (common carrier) grid operator to charge sources and loads for specific connection/transmission costs associated with their particular characteristics.

    That means that an industrial user might pay more for their connection than I do because of the characteristics of their load, in addition to the charge for the greater capacity of the connection. What a concept, eh! Fair pricing! Again, it’s not some new technology requirement.

    So your concern about ERCOT being “unfair” makes no sense…my approach prohibits arbitrary discrimination. The common carrier does not treat different types of generation differently, it only addresses the characteristics of the electricity at the connection. It is blind to whether the energy source is wind or gas or nuclear or anything else.

    And this would be a legal mandate. Whether the government also creates a carbon tax or subsidies for particular energy sources is a completely separate question.